Teaching and learning through a pandemic has brought to light several challenges that marginalized learners face, one of the most prominent being the widening language gap. In response, teachers are often scrambling to find and create resources to supplement their instruction and to support multilingual students. As a first-grade teacher, I often spent evenings and weekends doing just that.
When Speak Agent hosted a demonstration in my classroom, I reacted the way all teachers do when they’re introduced to a new EdTech product: “This is just another thing I’d have to implement on top of everything else I’m already doing.” I was pleasantly surprised when not only were my students excited to be working on Speak Agent activities, the Speak Agent team mapped those activities with my existing curriculum.
In my experience with other math and science programs, alignment meant integrating state or national standards into their content. Teachers are tasked with making it work and going through the program alongside their district’s scope and sequence. During CLT meetings, my grade level team, content specialists, and I would take the already limited time we had together to pace it out week by week.
Speak Agent is different. It goes beyond aligning state and national standards and does the heavy lifting, so your teachers don’t have to. Speak Agent combs through your scope and sequence and then organizes its learning modules according to the units you’re teaching. For example, when you’re teaching Unit 10: Equal Parts as Fractions, you’ll find a lesson named Unit 10: Equal Parts as Fractions in Speak Agent. (Speak Agent lessons aligned to Jefferson Elementary's (JE) scope and sequence)
My administrators always stressed the importance of implementing research-based resources. That meant teachers needed to find and pay for those resources or take the time to create them from scratch. In turn, administrators didn’t have the means to evaluate the effectiveness of the materials. Speak Agent offers district and school leaders comfort in knowing students are learning academic language from a resource built with strategies backed by research. They even have the opportunity to track student progress through school-level reporting tools.
My transition from the classroom to the EdTech space was emotionally conflicting but ultimately rewarding. I tirelessly worked with my kids and our educational community to provide equitable learning opportunities. Students need empowerment and support, flexibility, and accountability. How could I continue making a meaningful impact for learners outside of the classroom?Speak Agent thoughtfully puts these values, my values, into practice. Now, I’m confident I have found my niche in the world of education with this devoted team of lifelong learners.
Want to learn more about my transition from the classroom into edtech? Let’s chat! I’d love to tell you more about the difference that Speak Agent is making for multilingual and marginalized learners.
This article is curated by Jaclynn Emig, Speak Agent Partner Success Manager. Jaclynn draws on her experience teaching STEM subjects in Title I schools in Pennsylvania and Virginia when personalizing implementation plans for Speak Agent teachers who, like herself, aim to break down barriers to academic language acquisition and provide equitable learning opportunities for all students.