Tuesday, November 8, 2022
Happy Election Day!
I thought today that I would do some reflecting on the school year so far. This may be interesting to negative one person?
If you are new around here, I am in my 29th year of teaching high school Spanish. I taught at one school for 4 years, one school for 2 years, and now am on my 23rd year at my current school. I have taught Spanish Level one through AP. This year I am teaching 3 Spanish Level threes, 1 AP Spanish, and 1 Spanish Level one.
I absolutely think I was meant to be a teacher. I really think I get to use what I am good at and what I enjoy every day. I even love putting in grades in our online grading system. What a nerd, right? The things I don’t enjoy are grading long essays, talking about data, and going to meetings that could have been an email. What I most enjoy are the funny kids and the relationships we form, planning fun lessons and activities, and talking ideas with other teachers.
So, how is this year going?
It’s hard and lovely and fun and draining and wonderful and exhausting and all the emotions!
I recently had a really good day in my AP class. They were all singing along to some Spanish verb tense songs and it was really great. I have this class first period and it is mostly seniors so the tardies and the senioritis have been a challenge.
Also, we participated in a song challenge during the month of October that was really fun. Each day we had to vote between two songs in Spanish; everyone had made a bracket just like in the NCAA tournament but with songs!
If you haven’t noticed, I really like to use music in my classes!
I try to do something fun some Fridays after our weekly quiz. AP and Spanish 3 really like Spanish Scrabble! Many had never played before in English!
I have mentioned this to a couple of friends. I don’t think I have ever gotten close to my students faster than I did this year. I think they were open and I was open. I think we quickly found our class jokes and our quirks together. It has been really fun!
They are juggling so much, though. They don’t get enough sleep, they play sports, are part of organizations, hold jobs, take hard classes with lots of homework, and more. I just think it’s too much. I don’t exactly know the solution, but I would say that the money they receive in scholarships will pay off way more than a part time job, so if they can, forgo working during the school year or at least only work on weekends? Maybe I am coming from a place of privilege when I say this?
This year has definitely felt more normal. We had our first pep rally since 2019!
I don’t give much homework since the pandemic. I try to make good use of class time and really think about how our time is best spent. I know that I am at least 5th on the list of priorities usually. They have Math, Science, English, and Social Studies that are the required core classes. Next might come me as their World Language class. I don’t give busy work or worksheets. When I give homework, I try to make it a project (a part of a project), original sentences about themselves or a paragraph about themselves, or to study for our quizzes. I do expect good attendance and their focus when we are in class. Online translators are really a problem for language teachers. We can usually tell when they have used one because it will give a verb tense we haven’t learned or a certain way of saying things that are dead giveaways.
A highlight was our classmate singing in Spanish at our pep rally!
One thing I think I am doing well with this year is more work/life balance. I am leaving work at work for the most part and not checking email too much after work hours. It has really helped me!
I hope I don’t have to eat these words, but now that I can retire, I feel like I am able to let the little things roll off me more than before. I have seen all the trends in education come back around with new names. I am confident in my teaching style and I try to be true to myself. Because you know what kids of any age can smell? They can smell fake! That’s not to say I am not willing to learn new things. It simply means that I know my core values and my teaching philosophy and those won’t change.
It’s hard to believe we have only 10 school days until Thanksgiving break! When we return after that, we have only 15 school days until Winter Break. I always say the first semester flies by.
So, if you are a teacher, how is your year going?
If you are a parent, how is the year going for your kids?
What do you remember most about high school?