The best intentions

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Above all, my intentions are to be a great teacher.  Not a good teacher, not a mediocre teacher, or even just a favorite teacher.  I want to be a great teacher.  I know that is a lofty goal, but it is my goal nonetheless.  That said, I can honestly say my intentions have been good in everything I try in my classes.   I can also say, again in all honestly, that I have failed miserably in my good intentions more times than not.

I feel that this year has gone very well in teaching English 9.  I don’t mean to imply that every day and every lesson has gone perfectly, but more times than not I feel that I have been a “good” teacher in presenting the lessons that I have taught in both of my sections of English 9.  Surely there are things that I will change when teaching it next year (after all, this is my first year teaching it), but I am overall happy with how this year has gone so far.

Spanish, on the other hand, leaves me constantly feeling like something is missing.  And I can make all the excuses in the world about how I teach 6 different things every day (which, while a truth for my job, still feels like an excuse), but excuses don’t fill the empty space.  What am I missing? The 90% plus of Comprehensible Input.  I feel like a failing teacher because I just don’t do this and I KNOW that I should and that, if I really gave it my all, I could.  I get frustrated with myself and my students who just stare at me blankly when I try.  It’s most frustrating because I AM, in fact, careful to use only words that they know, and I supplement this vocabulary with visual cues.  This makes it hard to know if I am not truly being comprehensible, even though I feel that I am, or if the students are just being lazy in piecing together the language because they know I will eventually have to break down and tell them in English, or they can ask a “more apt” student.  Somewhere I know I am failing, I just don’t know where.

I also know that I should be using the TPRS method, but it is a constant struggle in my teaching.  After having read a recent post by another teacher about the things she loves and hates about TPRS (see http://musicuentos.com/blog/) and I felt like every word spoke to me.  Her “hates” are a lot of what has turned me off of TPRS and what has stood in the way of be being successful (sometimes with even trying to be successful) with the method. 

I guess right now I just keep on keeping on and try to continue reading as much as I can to try to do what I know I need to do in the class. This must be what they mean when they talk about it being a “process.”  All I know is that I long for the day that I can post awesome lesson plans and stories that have worked for me to help build the professional learning community.  Right now, I feel that I am just the mooch of the language teachers community. 

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