As I reflect on 2019, I am so grateful for how much I’ve grown, all that I’ve learned and how far I’ve come in my journey as an educator, teacher trainer, mentor, coach and professional spreader of JOY!
When it comes to my journey as a teacher, working to facilitate true acquisition for my students, it has been anything but easy. I hear all to often that I make it all look “so easy”. I challenge you to remember several things when you’re observing teachers who have been “doing this thing” for more than a few years. NONE of this is easy. It still isn’t easy. Even the classes that are going really well, and super smoothly… it isn’t easy. We are working 100 mph in our teacher brains to:
- make it “feel” easy to the kids
- Keep the JOY high and affective filter low
- scaffold language to what students KNOW
- add a couple of new words
- but keep those high frequency
- not add too many new words
- remember what words they learned last week to try and work those in to whatever it is we are doing
- be organic and natural
- brain break!
- check in with my students who are lacking in self confidence
- motivate and push my high achievers
and SO much more….Having said that… it IS possible. It just takes lots and lots and lots and lots of work. Tons and tons and tons of practice. MANY hundreds of hours of working with the high frequency vocabulary in your target language to get used to how to manipulate it and become a master circumlocutor for your students.
All of this is to say, I promise you… you are NOT doing it wrong… it really is just THAT hard. For 2020 I encourage you to stay POSITIVE! 🙂 Focus on those victorious moments where you’re making meaning and communicating with your students in the target language! Hang your hat on those JOYOUS moments where you and your students are laughing and making memories in class! Know that this journey of using more comprehensible input in your classes, the goal of 90% or more TL is a HUGE one that is like a roller coaster journey with lots of ups and downs and loop da loops! But it is all worth it in the end because hopefully our students will choose to stay on and keep riding over and over and over!
This year, I hope you strive to provide MORE moments of joy in your class than last year. I hope you strive to push for MORE time in the TL than you did last year because you can TOTALLY do it, and remember that MORE comprehensible input is better than none at all! LEAN on your resources, don’t reinvent the wheel. Find your tribe and your community… Sarah’s map is growing every week! Finally, remember, you’re not doing it wrong, it really is that hard (even for us who make it look easy! I had WAY more train wreck days than perfect happy rainbow days this year!)
Sending you love and joy in the New Year!
Happy Teaching, and (hopefully for now…) RESTING!
La Maestra Loca