It was my last day of teaching Spanish in 2019 today, and while I still had some very wiggly kids, I finally can recognize serious improvement in three areas: classroom management of elementary students, Spanish language ability, and storytelling (more telling than asking).

Following all the hints (eg “take no guff” from Amy Vanderdean) and knowing the school better, I am a lot more solid in being able to clarify my expectations for behavior. Kids don’t know what we expect unless we model, help them understand, practice, and remind. Wow. What a lightbulb … semester … since it wasn’t overnight by any means.

My Spanish is suddenly good enough that I could do movie telling — both pre- and during — without having to have the scripts or vocabulary lists in front of me. That led to being able to stand at the board in kindergarten and tell the entire story of a Peppa Pig story in advance of showing it. I realized I finally knew how to say that it snows, it is snowing, and that there is snow outside. I didn’t mix up verb forms or and which ending is the noun. I got to ask a whole bunch of questions, and once I was finally showing the little video, I could pause it and ask different kids to go up and touch objects and family members in the film. (Oh, and the kindergarten teacher let me use her computer…that was huge too!)

And finally, I could visit the second-grade “stores” and have conversations about the items the children had created with all of them. I’m blown away. Language acquisition keeps happening. And it’s possible to be learning forever. Happy holidays, all!

9 responses to “Improvement

  1. I should admit that it’s thanks to the various FB groups and many hero teachers that I have the materials from which to teach and learn. Honors go to Laurie Clarcq, Martina Bex, Mira Canion, Cynthia Hitz, Erika Peplinski, Julie Matthews, Skip Crosby, Amy Vanderdean, Anne Marie Mitchell, Annemarie Chase, Jim Wooldridge and company, and Carol Gaab and company, but I have borrowed and adapted ideas from so many people now that I can say the Spanish teaching world has created this teacher. Thanks to all (especially those who know I’ve used your things and just haven’t written your name here). This world rocks.


  2. This must feel SO good! Thank you for sharing your progress!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How many hours of input would you say you have, approximately?


    • I was trying to figure that out a while ago. Honestly, I don’t know. Last year, I was spending the eight hours weekly teaching (so, often looking at scripts while teaching) and up to three or four hours a day viewing videos and reading. During my first year of prep for teaching the summer classes, I worked a couple hours a day from January until June. This year, I typically spend two hours at least prepping (meaning getting more input) for each of the two days I teach, but then I’m also reading FB posts and going over scripts and watching other people teach. I simply don’t know how to figure it out.


    • I just added up a very rough estimate without counting the time I spent exercising to Pablo’s and other videos and movies…got about 1650 hours of input. Wow.


      • Michele (is that how you spell your name?) thanks for putting a guestimate to the hours. That makes sense…..for how you are able to narrate a movie talk with more ease. I’m at about 775 hours of input and feel a mess still in speaking. I’ll rest at ease now, knowing that the next 800+ hours will really help!


      • I was pretty surprised to add those up and realize that I’ve put in more than three years’ worth of (high school) language class time. No wonder. Maria, what language are you working on acquiring?


      • Spanish! I stopped working as a French teacher mid year of year 27 last March when my husband got a new job sooner than we thought. We moved right away from western NC to Huntsville AL. I had started to study Spanish (i.e. watch Pablo’s videos and listen to the duolingo podcast) about an hour a day to prepare for a joint French-Spanish June 2019 trip with my colleague. Not only did I not get to take the trip, I couldn’t even finish out the school year. But when we got here, I didn’t HAVE to work and I focused my days on increasing time for input wiht Spanish and making my English without Fear videos for a you tube channel (using CI). Spanish has totally hooked me!!!


  4. I mentioned you in my latest English without Fear youtube video – here’s a link so you can scan the transcript. You encouraged me in my goals –


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