When I started blogging, it was all about me processing my experience as a Spanish teacher. Blogging is a way for me to empty my brain of all of the ideas that clutter it. Once I see it in paper, or in this case, in the screen it is so much easier to understand what is going on. I went public with my blog a couple of months ago and have gotten a great response. I haven't blogged for 3 weeks because I have been discouraged. I didn't feel like writing positive things that were not in my heart. The temptation is great to use blogging either to put on a happy smile or to help other people. But, that was never the intention of my blog. It was for me. So, in the spirit of that initial commitment, my blog today is a "Dear Blog, today I am..." except I will share it with others, in the hope that I will glean some nuggets of information from the corporate wisdom.
Dear Blog today I am feeling...
Defeated about my Spanish 1 students. I have worked SO hard at changing instructional approaches and attitudes from the past. I started out with high hopes, excitement and renewed commitment to make my novices LOVE Spanish and to allow them to experience success. I did PD all summer, giving up free time of my own or with my family, so that I would be ready to help my novices learn in a way that would bring results. I have planned fun lesson plans and had it all worked out in my head as to how it would pan out.
I threw away the grammar and vocabulary based approaches and went for communicative learning/natural approach/contextualized teaching etc. But, the results are the same. The same percentage of students who did well, are doing awesome and the same percentage of students who failed in the past are failing now. So, what gives?
Why are some novices so unmotivated to learn, not just Spanish, anything? Why are they sometimes so slow in picking up material that has been repeated dozens of times? Why is there such a chasm between the haves (intellectually and cognitively) and the have nots at this novice level? Why do I have to have a highly structured classroom with my novices when my personality is bent towards collaborative learning and free flowing exchange of ideas (as I do with my Spanish 3's?) Because, if a number of novices are not in a structured environment, they fall apart. This year, more than any other year, my high level students are bored out of their minds, because I am going SOOOO slow and repeating structures SOOOO much.Why can't novices be like my Spanish 3s who want to learn, who grow
by leaps and bounds and who can do SO much with what I give them?
I feel as if I'm climbing an Everest made out of sand and I keep slipping backwards. It is going to be a LONG year is something doesn't change for me.
Thank you for reading and I would appreciate any feedback that you may have.