I am really good at teaching Spanish and French

Hurray, it is Blogapalooza night. Once a month we have an hour to write about a specific topic. Here is tonight's topic:

Without trying to be humble, write about something you're really good at.

Like most people, I have a long list of things I am not good at - whistling, math and poker. If you want the complete list, message me and I will send you volumes. I also have some modest claims to fame, I happen to know the music that the Monkees recorded, the geography of the town where I grew up and how to  read stories out loud.

I want to write instead about my pride in my ability to teach. Specifically, that I am really good at teaching Spanish and French. By doing so, I hope to provide some tips to inspiring teachers.29657_1328355645233_5305999_n

To begin with, language fascinates me. I have loved listening to people speak languages other than English all my life. I even pretended to do so myself which yes, is a little embarrassing to remember.

From that I became passionate about Spanish and French. I love the sound of them and the way they express ideas differently. I can't hear and practice them enough. From my very first day of teaching which you can see on the right, I have opened myself up to practicing Spanish and French.

I have studied both languages extensively, in every way and class possible. I took two languages in High School and had a double major in college. I have a Master's in Bilingual Education and 45 hours beyond that predominately about those two subjects.

29657_1328355085219_6892129_nI lived and studied in Mexico, Spain and France. I became immersed in the languages, dreaming and speaking without translation. To this day, there are things I think about in Spanish and others in French.

I traveled any time, any way. I applied for grants, I took students on trips and I qualified for scholarships. You can't teach a language you really don't speak.

I adore  heritage speakers and yearn to understand and know everything I can about their cultures. I walked through the towns and villages. I lived with families and I traveled all around France and Spain.

I do not judge differences in language, culture or custom. I seek to understand it and don't label it good or bad. Instead things are different, fascinatingly so.

All of this creates the passion I need to teach a subject. I maintain that if you are not passionate about the subject matter and intellectually alive, your students will not be either.

The passion and knowledge is like the drug in the vial. You also need the pedagogy, the delivery system. If not then every speak of a language could be a teacher of it.

I really enjoy young people. I have taught from Kindergarten through post graduate classes and I find something great about each group of learners. If I don't like my students they will sense it and the process is derailed.

I comprehend the process of second language acquisition. I did not grow up speaking three languages, I had to learn two of them in school and traveling. I have experienced the difficulties and joys first hand.

I am intimately familiar with a variety of teaching methods. I have been through ALM, immersion, paired instruction, cooperative learning, the Rassias Method, the 8 step lesson plan, right brain/left brain, differentiated instruction and many more. I know how to change things up.

I understand that there is not one method that works with every student. I have many techniques and tricks in my bag of teaching tricks. I can switch it up.

I am involved in the whole school, not just my classes. I went to games, I chaperoned trips and helped with other clubs. Here I am in DC with an 8th grade trip.29657_1328355485229_1978566_n

I speak clearly in ways that make the lesson clear. I know how to write it. I know how to make it real, make it hands on and use the vocabulary with the students' whole bodies.

I am really organized, can break things down and clarify the objectives. I never try to trick my students and my goal is that everyone experience success. That includes me, I succeed when my students do.

I want to have fun and I am pretty strict. Both can happen and enhance the learning. My students can have fun in a clearly delineated environment with high expectations.

I know that I am the teacher, not the friend of my students. I am OK with making choices that might make them not like me. That's OK because I am the TEACHER, a nearly sacred position.

I had a ball teaching full time for 35 years and part time for 5 more. I was really good at it but I was able to go on to other talents. I stepped aside and let 29657_1328355285224_2075803_nanother generation carry on.

This is me on my last day of full time teaching. What a long strange road it's been to quote The Grateful Dead. And a terrific one and knowing when to leave is part of that. 

Now I get to be really good at quilting, sewing and writing a blog about it. I get to be good at being a Grandma. I am good every day at being a retired person with a retired husband.

Now I just have to work on the whistling and poker.

Feeling competent, that makes meSew happy!

Want to see what else I think and dream about? Check out my Facebook page. Like the page, check the get notifications and join the conversation! If you want to keep reading my blog, you can subscribe. To do so, type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. You will receive a verification email. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

I have written about teaching before. This post is on how to know if you are cut out to be a teacher and the second is about my pride in teaching.

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at QuiltingSewingCreating@gmail.com

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