Educator Spotlight: Meet Nathalie Mathieu
English teacher in France embraced technology to make big changes in the classroom
This story is part of a series that celebrates outstanding educators within the Flipgrid community. Stories by Angela Tewalt.
In the cold snap of January two years ago, empowered by the fresh start of a new year, Nathalie Mathieu took a risk.
For a private school teacher in Dijon, France, big change is a big deal, but after ten years of teaching English to high school students, she decided that her classroom and her entire perspective on teaching needed to look a little different anyway.
“I had no choice,” says Nathalie, who also teaches higher education alongside her 100 English-learning students. “I was feeling great – I loved teaching and I loved my students – but I knew exactly where I was going. I was feeling too comfortable in giving the same kind of teaching for 10 years, so that’s when I knew I had to let go of everything and learn something new.”
But for Nathalie, change wasn’t just for her. If anything, it mattered more that the risk was a collaborative effort with her students. So when she was introduced by a colleague to Microsoft digital tools to use in the classroom, she immediately looked to her kids for approval.
“I spent weekends over several months learning about Teams, OneNote and Flipgrid,” she says. “But I was discovering them at the same pace as my students. We were learning together. I was completely honest and just said, ‘You know what? I’m going to try something new with you, and we can help each other. You can tell me if you like it or not, and I’ll tell you the same,’ and now we’ve all become more self-confident because of it.”
Nathalie says the students continue to surprise her with how well they use these tools in the classroom, and she’s also surprised with just how deeply they needed the invigoration.
“I have to be learning new things, so we don't get bored in class!” she says. “You will face obstacles along the way but stepping out of your comfort zone is a great, great thing to do for both the teacher and the students. I have completely changed everything about my teaching practice.”