I've been recently experimenting with the pseudonym "The Imposter Teacher" on my social media accounts. I'll explain this in a following post.
One can guess though, why I might identify with such a name. I wear a lot of hats and it is very tough to stay on top of Spanish, the broad field of Industrial Arts, and the rapidly changing field of CADD.
One thing that has kept my head above water is using Spanish curriculum I purchased from a website called TeachersPayTeachers. This website sells products created by teachers for fellow teachers to use in their classroom. It's completely changing the whole concept of the traditional text book. Thank God!
I purchased curriculum called SOMOS which I knew about from following the blog: The Comprehensible Classroom. I'll do a full review of the curriculum in a later post as well but here is the thank you letter I wrote to the author on her Facebook page shortly after implementation:
I never wanted to teach Spanish. Heck, I never wanted to learn Spanish. I quit in high school. I went for an education degree in Industrial Arts. They required I minor in a completely different field. I was indifferent about every option on the list, so I looked at it as a financial investment and picked what I thought would be the best moneymaker.
So I was minoring in Spanish at college. I quit college. I return to college, reluctantly completing that minor. I failed the teacher certification test once. Passed the second time by one point.
I got hired to teach woods and metals. My boss changed schools. He was the only one who knew I had a Spanish certificate. I never promoted it, I never wanted to use it. He called me up saying he needed a Spanish/Industrial Arts teacher. I replied saying I'm probably the only one with that certification combo.
The job had more pros than cons so I bit the bullet and took it. As reluctant as I was to teach a content I had a personal annoyance with, I promised myself I would own it. I promised myself I would not do what my former Spanish teachers had done, because, obviously, it hadn't worked very well.
IT was rough. I used everything I learned in my methods class and pulled out all my notes. I read James Taylor's Fundamentals of Language Teaching weekly. I created my own TPRS content and aimed for 90% in the target language.
As hard as I tried, I just wasn't that good. Kids knew it, I knew it. I kept trying to think of a Spanish teacher I had that I could emulate, and I drew a blank. Kids did agree I was better than Rosetta Stone, their prior 'teacher'. I had very little more than rapport keeping the threads of that class together.
I crutched on duolingo a lot. I had a 1:1 room at the time and sometimes I'd plan the next day's lesson plans while kids were practicing on duolingo. The students could smell when I was behind and overwhelmed and began to take advantage of the duolingo days to check out and listen to music. I never was able to recover that train.
Long story longer, I decided over the summer something had to change. I now had a Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 on my course load. Somehow I had followed The Comprehensible Classroom on Facebook, I found the teachers pay teachers, and decided even if it wasn't good, it was better than the textbooks I used, and the content I've created. I went to my boss with an almost $300 TPT order.
And thank GOD! I never thought I would enjoy teaching Spanish anywhere close to the way I enjoy teaching Industrial Arts.
One of my Spanish 2 students won't quit talking about my improvement as a teacher.
I can focus on my other battles, I'm not spread as thin as saran wrap on a hot casserole dish.
The unit design is fascinating and even inspiring for my Industrial Arts and CAD curriculum design.
It's the most fun Spanish class I've ever had by far, with all my high school college credits, and I - the Spanish class moaner, groaner, non-participant- am the TEACHER! If someone had shown this version of me to a younger self, I would have to believe it came from a parallel universe.
I always felt cornered into learning the language. I've still never been to a Spanish speaking country. I still have tons of room for improvement, but for the first time, after quitting Spanish 3 times in 10 years, I am truly excited about growing in the language.
I have no idea how Martina Bex was able to channel that excitement TO me, and also THROUGH me and to all my students.
If you've read this far, Martina, thank you. Thank you so much.
So now you have a little snapshot of Mr. Barbercheck as a Spanish teacher. I am working on offering more of this snapshot to the world.