I feel like I'm going to have to do some testing-of-the-waters on Monday and completely re-establish relationships, so I'm trying to brace myself for the worst. Semester's end was kind of rocky, and I pretty much relinquished control to my (AWESOME) sub after that. Engrade messages and texts from students petered off after that, and while I kind of needed the break, I'm worried about what it means I'll be coming back to. Like I said: bracing myself.
At the same time, this is an opportunity to redefine Spanish class and myself as a Spanish teacher. There were plenty of things not working when I left, and not entirely because I was not there. There are some realities I must take into account as I do try to make the most of this fresh-ish start:
- Most of them are technology addicts. Some have to tweet constantly, while others seem to think earbuds are natural outgrowths of their hearing organs. They could watch YouTube videos all day or shop for shoes or play random brainless games on any number of sites. Given access, they are moths to flame.
- Technology is also an excuse. They may not come out directly and say, "I didn't do that assignment because I don't have a computer at home" (never mind that each of them gets at least 3 hours of access to do work every week during school hours), but those who have the hardest time seem least likely to ever do assignments on Edmodo, Glogster, Voicethread, or Blogger. They might not say it's the technology's fault, but it seems to me less likely to get done if they have to access something other than Facebook online (which, I believe, is blocked at school once again, so don't bother suggesting it). Out of sight out of mind?
- I make assignments they find pointless. Some will put it in writing that they think we should never do a collage again (never mind that I was trying to get them to organize their ideas before writing), and others will blatantly ignore revisions I suggest for their assignments and act like nothing I said for the previous 3 weeks made any sense whatsoever. With my new-found perspective, I have to acknowledge that these are cases of my failure to appeal to their mindsets. The assignments sound really cool and meaningful to me, but by now, I know how to put on my Student Goggles ™ with assignments. I can't fool all of them all of the time, but I could probably do better getting in their heads before designing a project than I did first quarter.
- I'm going to feel adrift again. At almost exactly the same time as last year, I'm contemplating diving into waters where I cannot exactly see the bottom. Perhaps the greatest compliment of my teaching career came from a student who struggled in Honors English II but now works at his university writing center. He said his class's Honors English III teacher asked how all of them were such good writers, and they all groaned my name. I let them choose which writings to develop in "side projects" and made them write and re-write until I was satisfied. What was true in the English class, I'm finding increasingly, is also true in the second language class. I think I can achieve something like this with @amor8's awesome blogging strategies, and possibly some ideas I got from a new tweep @SrLaBoone, who, although claiming novicehood in Twitterlandia has some truly great ideas I hope to
stealadapt to introduce Twitter as a Spanish class tool. And I have NO idea what all of this coolness will look like.
So here I go, stepping out of my little mommysphere where I've been holed up, hopefully into a new phase of my development as an educator and a chance to connect with my teenage babies, perhaps in a new and better way.