I have always taught using TPRS (asides from about 2 frustrated weeks in my first year and another couple weeks in my first ES year). The methodology spoke to me like nothing else did, simply because it created a classroom environment that I would have loved as a student. My mentor, Eva Kaufmann, who introduced me to TPRS during my student observations had such engaged kids, it amazed me. I mean, these German threes came into class, immediately switching to German and reading Harry Potter in German in their spare time. Whaaat? That’s how I improved my English AFTER school (Disney movies in English and YA books is where it’s at!) and here these 15/16 year olds have it all figured out. She also had a student, who was in the lifeskill program, who loved her class and had learned, excuse me, ACQUIRED so much! So yes, I knew right away, this was for me and I just jumped in. I never had any training asides from observing Eva and reading the “green bible.” I bought Michael Miller’s Sabine und Michael curriculum and off I was.
So after all this input I have received for a week, every day from about 8:30 to often 1:30 at night, I went home and had to make sense of everything in order to use all the new ideas in my classroom. And after one day with my kids, I can say this with confidence: You all made me a better teacher.
- The kindness I received in my French lessons, being thanked for signalling to “please slow down” or “I don’t understand,” was so powerful that all I could think about on my first day with my students was to pay it forward to the max.
- Ben Slavic’s classroom rules (download my version of the poster here) and Ben explaining how you should be at the poster during the first 2 weeks all the time, have already started to set the tone after one period.
- Going to get coached and realizing how fast I naturally tend to go has made me more aware that I needed to slow down. My students thank you!
- Listening to Stephen Krashen and Beniko Mason talk about the research was fascinating AND compelling. Mental Note for me: I don’t want to be eclectic (and since I obviously can’t even spell it, uh-hum, I really should leave that alone). Also, recording listening stories is still on the to-do-list!
- Seeing the student jobs in action and LOVING the effect of them, has me scouting my “employees” from day 1. I have a flipboard in every room I teach and I can’t wait to find my artists and have them start their job.
- And most of all, I want to be a multiplier (to use a term, my very supportive colleague Julia Dose used).
I want to coach others and help others find their own strength in this CI world of ours. Because of Agen,
I was invited to go to ETPRS to teach a language lab in German and coach teachers at night. I couldn’t be more excited about this.
All of this made for a great first day where even though the classes are 15 minutes longer this school year, the time went by quickly and pleasantly. So, thank you Judith Dubois for arranging this Thinkshop and therefore making me a better teacher. How I would have loved to stay another day, just to get the chance to have more conversations with everyone. I am hoping to be back next year, there is so much more I need to listen to and exchange about.