Today’s prompt is a great one!
Respond: What do you love the most about teaching?
But how can I pick just one thing?! Does summer count?
I give up, I can’t choose just one.
- The ah-ha moment. This happened for me in Spanish 1 just the other day. I was introducing the idea of “usted” and helping them figure out the differences between “usted” and “tú” using a story. I pointed out that, now that I was using “usted” the verb ending (although I did not refer to it as such) was different (-a, instead of -as, for you non-Spanish people) As I moved on from one line of dialog, something along the lines of “¿Cómo se llama usted?” (What is your name?) to the next, I wrote “Me llamo” on the board and a kid piped up “How come that one has an o on it?” I allow Spanish 1 students to speak English, but I only respond in Spanish. So I added “Yo” to the beginning of the sentence and emphasized that “yo” is I, and the kid, in his third week of Spanish, in a class where I’ve never uttered the phrase “subject pronoun” or “verb ending” or anything even remotely close said “Oh, so if you’re talking about I you use the o at the end?” I was so excited. I live for those moments. Whether they be something the student figures out on his own or something that I’ve tried and tried for days to get them to understand, that moment of “Oh, I get this!” is so rewarding for me. I’m sure other teachers understand.
- Excitement about Spanish. This year all my students in all levels have to do one weekly assignment that involves connecting with the language outside of class, in basically whatever way they choose. Even though they’ve only had to do this once so far, I’ve had good feedback from students across all the levels. They’re realizing that Spanish doesn’t have to be just school work. It can have real application in the real world, and maybe it can even be fun! As educators, it’s our job to instill a lifelong desire for learning in our students, and when a student comes in on Wednesday morning and says “I had so much fun playing on Lyrics Training last night!” I know I’m moving in the right direction. And I love it.
- Broadening my own horizons. As a language teacher, I’m constantly learning new things. New words, new phrases. Just today, I learned a phrase (that I had never had the occasion to use in Spanish) from a student who wanted to use it in her weekly blog post. But it’s not really about the linguistic aspect of it. Teaching a world language is so dynamic. There’s always something new to learn about the cultures in which the language is spoken. There’s always news, changes, elections, protests, celebrations, riots…something is always going on in a Spanish speaking country. I can never be truly up to date! I’m constantly learning new things about the countries where Spanish is spoken, or actually meeting real people who speak the language, and without Spanish, I would never be able to get to know them! And as a teacher, I have to be constantly vigilant in looking for those opportunities, in order to make myself a better teacher and in order to bring exciting new stories to my students. The more time I spend using and learning about my subject, the more frequently I can create those oh-so-important excited-about-Spanish moments I mentioned earlier.
So that’s it. The three things I love most about teaching. Sometimes I dream of summer break, and don’t get me wrong, I sure do enjoy having time off, but I’m always happiest in the fall when school starts back up! Sometimes it’s stressful, sometimes I’m exhausted, and sometimes I want to tear my own hair out (never a student’s!), but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and I wouldn’t change for the world!