December 30, 2015

¡Mucho gusto! ¡Encantada!

¡Hola! If you're reading this, then you're reading my first blog post and I appreciate it!  I've wanted to start blogging about my experiences as a Spanish teacher for quite a while now, but I'm finally taking the plunge and I'm super excited.

Here's a little bit of history about how the stars aligned to bring me here, 11 years later, as a Spanish teacher.
  • I never intended to be a Spanish teacher. At all. I initially started out as an elementary concentration with an English major, but when I decided that tying shoelaces and teaching handwriting wasn't for me, I switched to secondary, which meant that I was required to select a minor. Math and Science aren't my thing and I took four years of Spanish in high school, so I figured, "Why not?"
  • I never planned to study abroad. However, when all of my friends decided to go to Australia, South Africa, and Scotland, I figured that I didn't want to be left alone on campus.  After a little research, I found that could complete my Spanish studying in Alicante, Spain, which I still look at as one of the best experiences of my life to date besides being a wife and mother.
  • I was under-prepared to be a beginning teacher. I accepted a job teaching high school English and Spanish and I was the only language teacher, so I didn't have a mentor of any kind.  After only student teaching in a Spanish class for 1 hour day and trying to mimic what I'd seen my own teachers do, I had a lot to learn to run my own classroom.  Thankfully, after two years teaching in Michigan, I relocated for a Spanish position in Greenville County, South Carolina. There I found a district and mentors that provided transforming, ahead-of-the-times professional development.  I starting learning about ACTFL's proficiency levels and IPAs (interim performance assessments) before these concepts became popular.  My district coordinator even convinced me to mostly let go of the textbook and I was solidly hooked on proficiency and teaching Spanish. 
  • I'm not always comfortable speaking with natives and advanced grammar frustrates me; this is probably to be expected from a Spanish minor who lived abroad for only a semester.  You know what I've found though? I don't have to be perfect to be an amazing Spanish teacher. I've even had colleagues joke that I could never teach AP Spanish and, not only do I wholeheartedly agree, but I don't want to leave my middle school students any time soon.  I love teaching beginning Spanish and providing my students an really good base for the levels ahead. I'm always surprised at how many kids come back to visit me years later at my middle school and tell me that I was the best Spanish teacher they had in their years of studying the language.  
Many people wouldn't want to admit any of the above, but I tend to be very forthright. Furthermore, these experiences have brought me to where I am today and I believe my struggles to be a better language learner and teacher have equipped me to relate to my students.

I really look forward to sharing my experiences with you and I'd love to hear about your experiences, so please feel free to comment below or email me at! Be sure to follow my blog by email to get my new posts right away! Please type your email on the sidebar to the right under "Follow by Email." You'll be the first to receive my freebies and notifications of new posts.

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