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TCLP Alumna Mentor Teacher Recognized at Global Teaching Dialogue

Monday, August 28, 2017

Claudia Larotta shares her experience serving as a mentor to two Chinese exchange teachers with TCLP Four years ago, Etowah High School in Woodstock, Georgia became the first school in its district to offer Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language. The program started with an inaugural class of 11 students and an exchange teacher funded by TCLP. Today, the program has grown to serve 68 students and will offer 5 levels of classes in the 2017-18 academic year.

Claudia Larotta, who teaches Spanish and chairs the world languages department at Etowah High School, served as mentor teacher to the two TCLP teachers who launched the school’s Mandarin program. She spoke about her experience at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Global Teaching Dialogue in July, which was attended by educators from across the U.S.

As Claudia told attendees at the dialogue, the decision to apply for TCLP to help launch the Mandarin program stemmed from the school’s mission to graduate students who exemplify the qualities of global citizenship. After Etowah High School’s first year with the grant, the students themselves became advocates of their program. This positive feedback from students prompted the school to reapply for the grant for a second year. Students also reached out to their community by teaching Mandarin at the local library and sharing what they learned in class with students at feeder middle and elementary schools. The students, Claudia said, have slowly changed people’s perceptions of Chinese language and culture.

Claudia also shared the exchange experience was rewarding for her, both professionally and personally. Being a mentor for two TCLP teachers was to her, “a win-win situation”. She discussed how sharing ideas about teaching with the exchange teachers was mutually beneficial and rewarding. As a result of her involvement in the program, Claudia was also selected to visit China in 2014 as a representative of her school through the Chinese Bridge Delegation.