First, a story…

...my story

When I applied to graduate school, I had no plans to be a Spanish teacher. I applied and was accepted into a Spanish literature and linguistics masters degree program and I planned to work in government or with the foreign service or something else romantic and sexy-sounding. Teacher was not high on that list.

I grew up around teachers (2 grandparents and both of my parents were teachers or instructors of some kind in my lifetime). I knew what it entailed to be a teacher and I knew about the work load and he he daily grind of teaching. It was always in the back of my mind as an option, but I didn’t come out of the womb ready to be a teacher.

Anyway, right before I started my program, I got a call about the teaching assistantship application that I put in a few months before. I hadn’t heard anything and wasn’t expecting anything, but early in July (the program started in August), I got a call and was invited to be a ta. It was money for school and some work experience. I looked forward to it.

Then I started and my whole outlook changed. I took my first methods course, a course required for tas who were teaching at the university and I fell in love with language acquisition research. I became fascinated with the brain and how language works in it.

My grandmother, a piano teacher for about a thousand years, commented about how it feels to be a teacher, “I love the power!” She meant it as a joke, but for a while, I did too. I was the master in my domain and I knew all the answers and all the theories and all the grammar rules.

Until about the 5th day…the day that I didn’t know something.  The first time came as a surprise, but in the intervening 7.5 years, I have gotten used to it.

The Sharing Culture – Why I’m Teaching and Why I’m Blogging
Pretty soon after my first deflation, I found that the other tas and other teachers that I was studying with were more than happy to share ideas and thoughts about how to deal with various problems in the classroom.

While my main motivation at the beginning of my career was the ego boost of being the smartest/most knowledgeable person in the room, the altruism within the teaching community has been the thing that has kept me going. If I had kept my head in the sand and been unwilling to ask for help, I would not be teaching anymore.

I love how willing teachers are to help one another. I wrote about it in one of my posts.

And in that spirit, I am happy to help you! Any questions you have, please feel free to make comments and ask questions. I don’t have a lot of experience, but if I write something you like or something that interests you, please let me know and we can help each other!

Finally, The Name

I’ve been asked about the name several times since I started writing. My first year teaching, we needed a class name for a whole school activity. Most suggestions were Mexican foods (the Tacos, the Enchiladas, etc). Then, one girl suggested, “What about the Fernies?” Another boy suggested the sombreros and it was then that the Fernies in Sombreros were born. It has since been cut down just to the Fernies, although it’s taken on a life of its own outside of school. The class that came up with that name is long gone, but their memory as my first class lives on in the name I’ve chosen for many things (Twitter, Instagram-formerly, email).

One comment

  1. I am hoping you might be able to attend and/or help spread the word about our first Cascadia CI Conference in Portland, OR June 29-30. 🙂

    We have an amazing lineup so far:

    Keynotes/Sessions by Dr. Beniko Mason and Dr. Stephen Krashen

    Sessions by Mike Peto, Annabelle Allen, Ben Slavic, Tina Hargaden, Jillane Baros, and Jacqueline Miller-Perry and Jon Cowart on CI for Equity, and a couple more surprise folks in the works.

    Model Language Classes by Wade Blevins (modeling in Cherokee), Adam Ziad (modeling in Arabic) Janet Kyong (modeling in Korean), Kristen Noelle Donoghue Wolf (modeling Elementary Spanish), and TBD modeling in Advanced French.

    Evening coaching with Ben Slavic till 11 PM or later!

    Optional pre-conference workshop with Ben Slavic and Tina Hargaden June 26-27

    Visit https://comprehensiblecascadia.org/ for details.


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