Episode #185: Andrea Bitner

Dana GoodierOut of the Trenches Podcast

Andrea Bitner is an educator, author, and speaker.  She lives on the East Coast among some of the fastest-speaking people in the country!  She has worked with students in grades K-12 through her twenty-two years in public education from all around the world.  Her work as an English Language Teacher, Reading Specialist, Literacy Coach, Presenter, and High School English Teacher inspired her to continue to share the great news: Learning a Second Language is an asset, not a handicap!  Her first book, “Take Me Home,” was published by Austin Macauley in July of 2021. “Take Me Home” is the true story of 11 of her former EL students who give a first-hand account of what it’s really like to become bilingual in America.  She is also a co-author of Chip Baker’s “The Impact of Influence-Volume 3,” and “100 No-Nonsense Things ALL School Leaders Should Stop Doing.”

She travels the country speaking and teaching educators how to establish relationships and effectively communicate with EL families!

Trench story: 10 years ago, she worked with EL students at a HS. 40 different kids- 25 different languages represented. Worked with kids from all different walks of life. Banner “what’s your plan?” Alumni returned. Presented kids with a t-shirt. Worked with the Lopez family from El Salvado. Nancy is the only female.  1 year later, Andrea saw helicopters. Nancy was hit by a train, killed. Huge trauma. Community navigated through trauma. Parents didn’t understand what happened because no one spoke Spanish. Andrea had to speak at her funeral- poem “Take me Home”. She put it out to publishers. They wanted her to write a book. Given 6 mos. Interviewed 11 former students.  Covered almost every continent with the experience.

Tell me about some of your writing, like chapter in “100 No Nonsense Things All School Leaders Should Stop Doing” & TB blogging? Womens book, came out in March Chip Baker’s “The Impact of Influence-Volume 3, “Take Me Home,” Her chap in 100 Things is about Els. She has worked w/ so many families, she finds it essential to need all hands on desk. Noone achieves success alone. ELs are in other classroom often. We need to know who the EL students are. Chip Baker’s “The Impact of Influence-Volume 3, Not just geared towards. For Women, it’s a personal book. About trials and tribulations. “Take me Home”-interviewed people during, through pandemic. Former students responded that they would participate. Andrea took notes. Sent back chapter to former students what else could they do to help people understand the st’s experience? used a map of their country and how far from the U.S. Book is both in Eng & Sp. She had attended some of their graduations, met their kids. They’re excited to be a part of .

Also speaking at the Teach Better conference next month. We talk about her session there & other summer; early fall conf. Went to ITLE conf in June. “Take me Home” strengthening communications with EL families. 10 essential ?’s to ask ELs/ How to connect kids. End w/ immersion experience for attendees. Use a lang from India-Jirati & French.

 Teaches ELL students solely now. We talk about her work informing teachers of other subjects to understand being immersed in a new language. Also, discuss what kind of impact she has in the community. We need our team. EL students are transient. She meets with teachers when new a EL student comes. If they can’t read & write in first language teaching approach is different. Teachers want to know the results of EL screener. What kind of support they need- reading, speaking, etc. Adaptations CR t can use. Continue conv. She connects families with EL community-wide parent nights. Amazing to hear other lang. Connect with a local job force center. Free adult English classes. Create school environment where they feel comfortable coming. She puts out YouTube videos for parents/community as well.

Key quotes…When you meet ppl learning Eng for the first time, treat it like an asset. Help them feel less like a rotten apple. Give them the tools they need to read, write, listen and speak.

You can find Andrea at www.andreabitnerbooks.com, or on social media Twitter, Instagram @andreabitnerbooks LinkedIn.

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/7NMhahWetf4

Are you excited that in-person conferences are back? I know I am! In fact, I am excited to announce that I will be at the 2022 Teach Better Conference this October 14-15 in Akron, OH. I’ll be recording episodes live, attending sessions, and connecting with a whole bunch of amazing educators. It would be awesome if you could join us! Head over to www.teachbetterconference.com/register and use code outofthetrenches to save $50 off your 2-day registration. I hope I see you in October!



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