I recently heard about a “positive vibe” folder filled with lots of positive messages from students, parents, etc. that they added to throughout the year. When the teacher has a bad day, they open the folder and try to focus on the positives. Last school year was an emotionally rough year for me. I mean like REALLY rough. It was so rough I questioned whether or not I was meant to be an educator. Somehow I decided to stick with it and I’m making every attempt to save all of the positive moments this year to help keep me going in the future. It seemed fitting to record some of these positives today on Thanksgiving. So, without further adieu:
Doy gracias …
- for my current Spanish 3 students. They’re my first cohort that I had as 8th graders, and we truly do feel like family after 2.5 years together. Just two days ago, another student told a peer to “Get in the picture! We’re family!” I’ve never been prouder. What I love about this group is that they want to learn along with me – they’re a part of the process. They’re the first group that I’ve had in 5 years to truly reach Intermediate level. It’s an exciting challenge for me.
- for my current Spanish 1 students. My 8th grade group reminds me a lot of my current Spanish 3 students – they get excited about my class’ content, they want to be a part of the process, and they already feel like family. My 8th graders willingly stayed behind 2 minutes after the bell rang to finish acting out and recording a story one of their peers wrote. My high school Spanish 1 students are the best group of high school Spanish 1 students I’ve ever had. Both groups have their own distinct personality. Both have a smartie (or two!) and a class clown, but everyone participates. One girl even brought cupcakes to her Spanish class for winning a Student of the Month for another class! I’ve never had that happen before.
- for my current Spanish 2 students. My two classes are so different from each other – 5th hour is bubbly and talkative and 7th hour is the quietest class I’ve ever had in my life. There are so many students in this group that seemed to naturally take to Spanish. I don’t know them as well as my other cohorts, because this one had my student teacher last fall. My student teacher was not comfortable doing TPRS-style teaching, and this group had a hard time adjusting once my student teacher left. I’m excited to do shorter stories again with them to teach the past tense.
- for my mentor Larry Pace. I’ve blogged about him before here.
- discovering TPRS and CI three years ago. Expanding off of this, I’m so grateful for TPRS Publishing and other TPRS/CI teachers who share their work with others. My classroom would not be nearly as great without their efforts!
- for the fact that my school is small. I like the autonomy it allows me in my lessons and that I know most of the students in my building even though I don’t have them in my classroom. I’ve always pictured moving to a bigger school (I graduated with a class of 250ish and I think my school’s class sizes are around the 30-35 range), but I’m not so sure now.
- that one of the 7th grade Geography class borrows my room during my prep period. As annoying as it can be that I don’t get my prep period alone in my room (I used to do a monthly bulletin board, rearrange my room to keep student interest, etc.), it makes students excited about taking Spanish. They like looking around my room, asking me how to say words, and talking to me in general. One boy who sits near my desk just wants to be able to talk about his BMXing, but the Geography teacher doesn’t listen to him. Students are excited when the Geography teacher calls in because it means I will most likely be their sub. It’s amazing that I’m able to build relationships with students who I don’t have because it helps set us up for success when I finally get them.
- that my school is now 1:1. When I first started at my current district four years ago, I had to fight to get a projector. It took 3 months before I got one. Now, almost all of my students all have their own Chromebook. The middle school students weren’t allowed to have them initially, but after many teachers approached the administration (including myself through this letter) the middle schoolers will soon have their own! I definitely haven’t mastered the technology side of teaching, but it’s so exciting to finally have the opportunity to further explore technology with my students.
- for being at the end of my Master’s program at Concordia College. Personally, I struggled in the beginning of the program because I was already on the path to self improvement and this program doesn’t necessarily readily embrace TPRS/CI. However, I’m glad I stuck through with it because I feel that it has refined my knowledge of various world language topics. I may not remember specific research or who researched what, but I feel much more informed. Nonetheless, I’m ready to say I’ve obtained my Master’s and to move on to new challenges.
- and most importantly, for my husband. I spend a lot of time working on school-related things. I would love to tell you that religion or family is a major priority in my life, but the fact of the matter is that education is – my own education and educating my students. My husband understands this, and he doesn’t try to make me feel bad about it. In fact, he’s rather supportive. I can’t tell you how many minutes he’s patiently listened to me about any numerous amount of school issues. I found myself tearing up today as I listened to him tell his family members’ about my job. I knew he listened to me and I could tell he was proud of me. He also embraces and encourages my other creative outlets (quilting, photography, and crafting in general) that allow me to destress from my job. Just this past week he pinned together parts of a baby quilt for me to sew, and then he ripped apart seams that I wrongly put together for a baby quilt while I worked on school work.
I hope you take stock of all you’re thankful for in your own job today and every day.