Reflective Teaching Day 11: My favorite part of the day

What is your favorite part of the school day and why?

This is a hard one for me! So let me tell you about my day while I think about it.

I get to school much earlier than most of my colleagues, and I love the quiet in the morning. Not to mention the extra work time.

1st and 2nd period are Spanish I, and that’s fun because the kids are very excited about learning new things and trying out the phrases they have learned.

3rd and 4th are Spanish II and, to be honest, this is definitely not my favorite time of the day. It’s better now than it was a few weeks ago, but I’m still struggling to get these kids invested in what we’re doing, and it’s draining on everyone involved. On the other hand, these classes are really stretching my ability to make learning fun and interesting, and I know I’ll be a better teacher because of the difficulty we’re having.

Then it’s lunch time, and I eat with some pretty excellent people, so that’s always a good, usually relaxing, time.

6th (now!) is my planning period. For the past 3 years planning was 8th, but I’m adjusting to the change, and I actually kind of like it. In the morning, I prepare for Spanish I and II, and I use this time to get ready for III and IV in the afternoon. But it’s certainly not my favorite part of the day.

7th period is Spanish III. This might just be my favorite time of the day. Consistently over the past 3+ years, I have always looked forward to Spanish III. We’re getting into harder stuff, but the students I have are usually pretty dedicated. And this year is even better, with all the changes I’ve made, we end up talking, laughing, and learning a lot more spontaneously than in the past. This year I have 15 juniors and 1 senior in Spanish III, and I’ve basically watched them grow from freshmen. By now, we know each other, we’re comfortable with each other, and we know how to have a good time together. And the group is the perfect size – not so small that it’s awkward and quiet, but not so big that it gets out of hand easily. So I hate to say I have a favorite class, but, well, this is it.

Then, 8th period is Spanish IV, and I’ve watched these kids grow from freshmen as well. And the group I have this year is excellent. They’re very intelligent, hardworking, and generally just good people. And they’re very nearly grown up. One of the reasons I like both III and IV so much is because the kids are so much more mature. We may not have the silly, carefree fun that we do in Spanish I, but I can actually have a real conversation (in any language) with these older students sometimes. So 8th period is pretty great for me as well. The only reason I would rank this second to 7th is simple size. There are only 4 students in Spanish IV. On the one hand, it’s great because they’re all good friends, and so I would think they’d be comfortable speaking in front of each other. But, at this point in the year, despite the fact that they can converse in Spanish, it’s tough to get them to talk to me sometimes.

The takeaway? 7th period Spanish III is my favorite time of the day, but if I can get my 8th period Spanish IV students to be a little more vocal, we may have a tie on our hands.

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