When I started this little blogcito, I just thought I’d share some games and tell some stories. I wasn’t really expecting people to really read it and it never occurred to me that people would reach out to me with questions or looking for advice.
And I’ve noticed a theme this past week, in my email correspondence with you lovely people and in real life. I’ve had similar conversations with like 8 different people, so I’m guessing maybe someone here needs to hear it too.
So team, huddle up for a pep talk!
If there is one thing teenagers can sniff out like a beagle it’s inauthenticity. You’ve got to be YOU in in your classroom. They’ll know if you’re trying to be someone you’re not and besides, being someone you’re not is exhausting. Your personality, your quirks, the things that make you laugh and annoyed and tick are all unique and those have a place in your classroom. And if you don’t bring them into your classroom, you’re not being you.
It’s kinda weird, we live in an age of “Classroom Celebrities” where we can binge watch Tina Hargaden and Sarah Breckely and La Maestra Loca which is awesome to get ideas and inspire us to try new things…but it’s also a double edged sword. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something along the lines of “I can’t do CI because I’m not funny/animated/bubbly/ outgoing/X/Y/Z”. Sometimes we see outstanding teachers who are natural performers and we think that’s what good teaching has to look like. Good teaching looks a lot of different ways and so the trick is figuring out what your good teaching looks like. As long as you are loving your little darlings and feeding them language they understand, that’s good teaching. So keep binge watching the CI Masters on youtube and reading the blog posts and attending conferences and finding cool stuff on Teachers Pay Teachers, but ask yourself, How do I make this me? Does this mesh with who I am? Because guess what? Your kiddos need you. The Real You. Not the mascaraing-as-someone-else you. Because Sarah’s students need her and Annabelle’s little darlings need her and your kids need you because you’re the one with them day in and day out. Teenagers are hungry for authenticity- Be you!
Love em and feed em:
The other thing I’ve been hearing a lot is that teachers are overwhelmed- there’s just so much good stuff out there! Comprehensible Input Teaching is rocking and rolling and everyone is adding their song to this jukebox…which is awesome! And it’s also a double edged sword. There are just waaaaaaaay too many fun ideas to incorporate, too many games and tricks and brainbreaks and jokes and activities to try them all. Not one of them is the secret ingredient to an amazing language classroom. The secret ingredient is no secret at all, and it’s what you’re probably already doing: Love your students and feed them lots of language they understand. That’s it! The pressure is off! You only have to do two things this year! (Well that, and all the other garbage that comes with education, that has nothing to do with language acquisition but is important to administrators like taking attendance and giving grades and attending meetings and…But don’t let that bog you down! Especially not now when you’ve got a fresh year before you!) If you’re loving your kiddos and loading them up with comprehensible language, you’re doing a great job! And all those ideas and games and blog posts and brain breaks are the icing on the cake! There’s freedom there, people! You can’t incorporate everything, and you don’t have to. Love them and feed them and everything else is a bonus!
Take a breath.
Love your kids.
Feed them language they understand.
You got this.
Happy Back to School!