It’s been almost a year since I posted on this blog. The truth is that I’ve been scared to post something new. At this point, it’s been so long that I find it more difficult to figure out what to write after a year of absence than it was to start the blog in the first place. I have started and deleted at least 2-3 posts a month since my last post. Nothing ever seemed like it was interesting enough or engaging enough. Reflecting on why I haven’t felt like anything was worthy of posting, it’s clear that it’s because the pandemic teaching burnout is real…SUPER real: Not knowing what was coming or what would happen; Would we lock down again? Would we go completely virtual? Would we go completely in-person?
The not knowing left me on edge for a year and a half. It was a negative time for me and I didn’t have much positive to say. Every time I opened up a draft and started writing, it would start to get negative and I would have to stop myself. I would rather this blog have no new posts than to be a cloud of negativity.
Now that we are starting to see the possible slowing down of the pandemic, things (in Central Florida, at least) seem to be moving back towards normal…a new normal, but a consistent normal. The unexpected is not looming over us as much as it has been. We have made it through almost 2 years of a global pandemic and the thought of things going back to how they used to be is both tantalizing and paralyzing…it would be so great, but at the same time, will it ever be how it was?
I feel that negativity starting to creep in, so it’s time to change the subject. I promised myself I wouldn’t delete this post, so I will continue and I will share one very positive update:
During the pandemic, I did something I haven’t done in years: I looked into, purchased, and started using a pre-made curriculum. Before TPRS, before comprehension-based teaching methods, I used a book called, Exprésate. It was fine, but it was a traditional language textbook with all the things that includes (specifically, grammar-based chapters and 50+ vocabulary words per chapter). After learning about TPRS and the online Comprehension-based teaching community, I have spent years creating and recreating my curriculum every year. It has been an amazing experience and I have learned a lot, but during this overly stressful time, I needed help. The curriculum I put together just wasn’t consistent or structured enough for middle schoolers. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an elementary and middle school teacher, it’s that structure is everything. Without it, even the best lessons fall flat because the kids don’t know what the purpose is or what is coming next.
Enter the new curriculum. It aligns with comprehension-based teaching methods, but it also provides the consistency and structure that I lacked as a curriculum designer. The kids are still kids and they still do the same sorts of kid things, but they have a consistency and a structure that wasn’t present before and I can see that their proficiency is growing more consistently as a result.
So that’s what’s been going on over the last year: exhaustion, burnout, negative feelings about school and about teaching, a glimmer of hope with a new curriculum, success with said curriculum, and finally a new, more positive outlook on teaching during a pandemic. I plan to post more and get back to sharing my journey into comprehensible input.
I’m looking forward to talking to you more.