First Day Back and a Resolution for 2020

Tomorrow is our first day back at my school and as I have said before, I am ready, but I’m unprepared. I don’t have more than a basic outline of what I’ll do tomorrow on the first day back from the break, but I do know what we will be doing: using Spanish! We’ll be chatting about our vacations (with support from La Charla), creating stories and characters using the One Word Image technique, and reminding students of expectations and procedures.

I am also excited! the 2020 Calendar year marks the beginning of a new procedure in my classroom: FVR as a daily practice. I have read all the blogs and all the books (so in that way, I am very prepared!) These kids are going to be reading so much, I can’t contain myself. I am PUMPED!

I have been putting their stories into mini-books, printing out and making lots of copies of texts from Newsela, Mundo en tus manos, and Revista literal, and acquiring as many novels as I can to get this party started. More on that as it develops.

New Year’s Resolution

Most of you who will read this probably don’t know that in addition to being a teacher, I’m also a semi-professional (large emphasis on the “semi-” part) musician.

Rocking out with the band, circa 2019

I bring this up because I have been putting together some videos of myself teaching and they don’t wow me like the teachers whose work I’ve seen in their own videos. It’s exactly the same feeling as when I share videos of myself playing guitar. The musicians and teachers who share are so good. How can I ever be as good as they are? They are doing seemingly impossible things that I would never be able to do in a hundred years. Some days, after some time on social media reading about and watching guitarists and language teachers, I feel like I could never be as good as them and I should just give up. I’ll never be as good as some other teacher, I’ll never be as innovative as so-and-so, I’ll never be as open-hearted and loving as Joe-Schmo, and I’ll never reach 90%TL as efficiently or engagingly as You-Know-Who.

This is not a healthy mindset for a musician or a teacher – of course there is always someone who is a better teacher, someone with more experience, someone who can do all the things I wish I could do and more. That’s a lesson that I am learning as a musician and that I need to start internalizing as a teacher.

My Resolution is to not compare myself to other teachers. Instead, I plan to learn as much as I can from them so I can be a better teacher to my students. I resolve to learn as much as I can without all the wallowing in the guilty feeling that I am not as good as they are. I will use what I learn from other teachers to find my own unique voice in my classroom based on what works for me and for my students.

(Side-note: As I write this, I am a little anxious that I haven’t been able to come up with one word to encapsulate my resolution like all the other teachers do…old habits die hard)

We are all on a continuum of practice and all of our voices are different: Lots of the teachers and lots of musicians who share their work on social media have been doing it for so much longer than I have and have found their voices. I can learn from all of them, but at the same time, I can’t beat myself for not being as great as they are at certain things. I am getting to be pretty good at what I do (not what anyone else does) and I am resolved to be more comfortable with my own voice as I discover it.

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