"If there's a book you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."
~ Tony morrison
Last year I received a phone call from an author and very good friend, Carol Salva. Carol has always been so supportive of my work and is always sharing my immigrant journey during her presentations. She called me to let me know that John Seidlitz, the owner of Seidlitz Publishing, was interested in publishing my story. I cried! I was so excited to hear this because I've read several books published by Seidlitz and they are all centered around English learners and how to support them. I was also excited because finally, I was having the opportunity to publish my story.
This all became a reality on February 7th when John Seidlitz and Sarah Welch came to NC to visit me and discuss my future book.
There's not much I can tell you about the making, title, or format, or timing; but what I can tell you is that is coming!
My book is coming!!
Not only will I be sharing my immigrant journey and experiences as an English learner but also my students' stories.
As soon as I have more information I can share, I'll be posting about it. Thank you for supporting me and my work. I can't wait to share with you this amazing accomplishment.
Thank you for reading.
On November 26th, 2019, I received an email from Alex Granados, a Senior Reporter for EducationNC. His email stated that he was "working on a series about "rock star" teachers...who are considered particularly beloved, effective, or innovative..." and he wanted to come to my school to learn more about me and my students.
Of course, we were thrilled to welcome him to our school and see our classes and students in action.
On December 4th, 2019, Mr. Granados visited our ESL classroom and was able to see my newcomers and my instruction in action!
My students were all working at their seats working on other class assignments and/or an assignments I had provided.
Meanwhile, I was pulling small groups to provide individualized and personalized instruction.
Mr. Granados interviewed me, observed my students, and met with my principal, Dr. Auerbach.
While Mr. Granados was in the room, we took a minute to cheer and celebrate one of our students. Oliver had just received a letter from the NC superintendent congratulating him for a recent recognition as Athlete of the Week for the Charlotte Observer.
I share this with you because I LOVE it (and students do too) when we are highlighted and featured for what we do best...learning and building a culture where the possibilities as endless!
My Favorite part of the article is this:
"Sitting in her classroom, one can see how that experience translates into a personal connection. The students work on their ESL assignments. But they also work on homework from their other classes, periodically checking in with Francis to ask questions or seek advice. The students chat with her in a way that is rare for students to interact with teachers.
“If I didn’t have my struggles and experiences, I wouldn’t be as effective as I am,” Francis said."
So, here is the beautiful article Mr. Granados featured on us! Enjoy!
An immigrant’s dream to be a teacher: Emily Francis of Cabarrus County
During the summer of 2018, I received an email from SIOP® senior project manager at Pearson, Allyson Newton, with an invitation of a lifetime. The email was an invitation to serve as a featured keynote speaker at the 2019 SIOP® National Conference in Portland, OR.
Wow! I wish you would've seen my excitement. No words can explain how humbled and honored I felt to be considered. Not only was I going to personally meet THE SIOP® author, (incredible women I admire for their work and passion,) but I was also going to share a national stage with them. An opportunity I couldn't miss!
I am super excited to share that I have the greatest privilege and honor to be a contributing author in a new released book titled Community College Teacher Preparation for Diverse Geographies: Implications for Access and Equity for Preparing a Diverse Teacher Workforce.
"This book explores many topics related to the community college role in K-12 teacher education, including the community college mission, the policy landscape, partnerships, the transfer function, the community college baccalaureate, and others. Throughout the volume, the authors explore implications of access, equity, and geography and conclude with recommendations to guide future research and practice." ~ IAP
Our chapter: How an Unaccompanied Minor Became Teacher of the Year: The Unrealized Potential of the Community College - Dr. Spencer Salas, Bradley Smith, Bobbi Siefert, and Astrid Emily Francis.
To read more about it and/or to order a copy check out this link. The book will soon be available in all major online retailers and will also be available as an eBook.
On October 22nd, 2018 - I had the privilege to be featured on DisruptED TV Teacher Sparks. Host, Michele Hill, (a passionate educator who by the way I admire), invited me to not only share my immigrant story but also share what I am currently doing for my students and their families.
We had a great conversation around elements and ways we need in our schools and classrooms to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for diverse students. Cultural responsiveness is definitely a topic we both feel very strongly about - so it became core to our conversation.
Check out the video and let me know if you have any comments or questions!
Thank you for reading and watching the video!!
EDUCATION ALUMNA USES PERSONAL JOURNEY TO INSPIRE THE NEXT GENERATION
"Emily Francis leapt from her seat in the audience of The Ellen Show and made a run for the stage. Only after she was perched alongside Ellen Degeneres did the 2016 Cabarrus County Schools Teacher of the Year realize that in her excitement, she hadn’t given the famous talk show host time to finish her introduction. But looking back at her journey—from a one room shack in Guatemala, to a New York airport facing immigration authorities, to crossing the stage at UNC Charlotte to accept a graduate degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)—it’s clear that Emily Francis had been racing toward a moment like this her entire life." ~ The Language of Love
I love how this article was introduced! The Cato College of Education at UNC Charlotte featured my story on their website this month. They also embedded wonderful pictures and videos they took while visiting me at Concord High School.
To read the entire article and watch the videos, follow this link: https://inside.uncc.edu/featured-stories/the-language-of-hope
Thank you for reading!
VirtuEL Conference Keynote
What Every Teacher of English Learners Should Know
On Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 I had the greatest privilege to join several inspiring and amazing educators from around the world at the 2nd annual VirtuEL Conference. Tan Huynh (@TanELLclassroom) and Carol Salva (@MsSalvac) are the founders of this amazing and FREE online annual conference for teachers of English learners (and all classroom teachers in general).
The lineup of presenters is EPIC - from classroom teachers to authors and professionals in the field. Each presentation is short but loaded with great and very helpful information to support our students. To see all presentations click here: bit.ly/VirtuEL
I was honored to be the mid-conference keynote where Carol Salva interviews me and I share my immigrant/newcomer story. I also share what motivates me to do what I do and what all educators should keep in mind in regards to their language learners. If you'd like to watch/hear the interview, just see Youtube video below or go to the VirtuEL webpage.
I also would like to invite you to follow the hashtag #VirtuEL18 where you'll be connected with amazing educators who share our passion to support language learners.
If you watch the interview, I would LOVE your feedback and learn from you how you will perhaps use this video at your school or in your county.
I leave you with this quote and thought...what are your language learners doing because of YOU?!?
Thank you for reading!
I apologize in advance, for the content of this post is not about strategies or methods to support your English language learners. This post is to brag on two wonderful opportunities I had these past two months.
Those of you who read my blog posts know that I generally post about the wonderfulness happening in my classroom, and/or ways to support your students. This time, however, is all about two big events that happened in my life and want to share with my readers.
People: Human Interest
Amy Eskind, a reporter for People magazine was getting her hair done by my sister Gabriela Barahona who works at Vanity Salon in Houston, TX when the conversation about me began. My sister shared with Ms. Eskind my story and she was very curious to learn more. She contacted me and we had several conversations about my past, my educational experiences, and what I currently do at Irvin Elementary with students and families.
Ms. Eskind thought that my story could potentially be featured on People.com. I couldn't believe it when she emailed me to let me know that my story was accepted and featured in the Human Interest section. I was more surprised when they contacted me for a Skype interview to go along with the article.
The article is amazing! I love how Ms. Eskind focused on the struggles I faced to get to the USA and the huddles I went through to complete school. I also LOVE how she highlights all the wonderfulness happening at Irvin elementary with our students and families.
On the day the article was released, a producer from Top 30 contacted me wanting to also feature my story as well. This is the awesome video they created to feature the story.
Ellen Degeneres Show
YES, you read the title correctly! I made it to THE ELLEN DEGNERES SHOW! Yay!
I cannot find the words to describe what I felt when I received an email from Ellen Degeneres producers! At first, I thought maybe it wasn't real. I did a little research to see if the person contacted me was really who he said he was! It felt so real when we interview through Skype and we started the conversation on featuring my story on the show!
Right after our Skype conversation with the producers, everything was so fast. In a matter of a couple of days, I was traveling to California! I knew my story was going to be featured somehow, someday on the show but... I NEVER thought I was going to be called on stage by THE Ellen Degeneres!!!!! Actually, let me rephrase that...she didn't call me on stage...I RAN when she started saying my name and talking about me! I feel so bad but I was SO excited when I heard her saying: "There's someone in the audience I want to meet. Emily Francis ..."
Not only was I super excited to be on stage and on national TV, but little did I know that my school, including students, parents, and staff were all gathered to surprise me!! My heart was raising so fast and I lost it!! My 4th grade student David said a few kind words about me that made me cry!!
But...that's not all...Ellen calls on stage Hamdy Ulukaya - founder and CEO of Chobani.
What a pleasant surprise to learn that Mr. Ulukaya and I have so much in common! We immigrated to the USA the same year - and his story of perseverance and persistence is admirable! After he shared his story, I was surprised with the biggest check I have ever seen in my life - Mr. Ulukaya donated $100,000 to our school's backpack program! WOW!!
I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and unforgettable experience. What I learned through all of this is that no matter how small our story and success might seem, it is important to share it with the world. There might just be someone out there waiting to learn our story of courage and persistence!
I am also grateful to Irvin elementary school staff, students, parents, and admin for all their support. They showed me how much they care for me and for that I will always be grateful!
Press Appearances and Mentions:
Cabarrus Magazine: A Cabarrus County Schools' Teacher Recently Featured in National Magazine
Independent Tribune: CCS Teacher Featured in National Magazine
Independent Tribune: Concord ESL Teacher to be Featured on Ellen
Independent Tribune: Irvin Receives $100,000 Donation from Chobani
Fox 46 Charlotte; #GoodDayCharlotte: Charlotte Area Teacher Surprised with $100K from Chobani on Ellen
Thank you for reading!