Are you a language teacher bully? (A self assessment)

No matter the forum, lately I have been seeing a lot of language teacher shaming and bullying and I just don’t like it.  We are a team.  We should help and support teachers taking risks and even those afraid to take risks without judgement! How do you rate in the bullying department?

But the research says: have you found yourself shaming another teacher’s practice based on the current research in the field?  Remember that just as many of our language students bring different experiences to the table, so do our teachers!  This is my language teacher iceberg… What we know on the surface is small compared with what teachers have going on below the surface!

And thanks to Thomas Sauer for making my paper iceberg real! 

Not all teachers know where to find the research… Many feel overwhelmed by preps and expectations from admin and don’t feel like they have time to read and research! For me, the hardest change was that I LOVED some of my language teachers and felt strongly devoted to how they taught me.  Shifting paradigm felt a little like a betrayal!

You’re not doing it right! Change it all now! We are guilty of finding something that works for us and wanting to share it with the world!  It isn’t a bad thing at all but give people time to wade in slowly.  The only way to make a change and make it stick is to go at your own pace.  As teachers see student success and increased proficiency,they will be encouraged to take greater risks!  Being supportive of the journey is an important key to shifting classroom paradigms!

I am the expert in the field… We are all just teachers doing what we believe will engage our students in language learning!  Share your successes but share failures too! Let new and seeking teachers see that proficiency is a journey for students and proficient teaching is a journey for us!!

It’s us versus them! We learn best when we work together rather than confront.  If we are constantly on the attack against teachers using methods we don’t believe in (legacy methods) we lose their trust.  How could someone want to know more about a method when its practitioners are not welcoming?  Try to remember Maya Angelou’s words “I did what I knew how to do.  Now that I know better, I do better.” We all find that “better” in our own time.

I am isolated from other teachers in my school. The only full time language teacher, I depend on my PLN for support and growth.  Please be supportive of me and of each other as we learn to embrace real language proficiency in the classroom!



The Shame Game

You could make this game work in SO MANY CONTEXTS!  🙂  My Spanish 4 is reading the novel Problemas en Paraiso as part of our unit on Narcoviolence.  The novel is a super easy read so I am trying to add in some deeper types of grammar reps and this game was a fun way to do some “have you ever…”  In Problemas, Tyler and his mom are getting ready for a trip to Mexico but he is very ashamed of the way she behaves.  He tells her not to forget that she is 40! 😉

Since we saw him get embarrassed in Chapter 1 because she is in love with his Orthodontist and in chapter 2 because she is taking a bikini on the trip to Mexico, I thought the “Shame Game” would be a fun way to wrap up the chapter.

Other possible uses… the Waiting Game… the Dating Game… the Blame Game… etc.

The full instructions and my Shame Game questions are attached but here is the gist of the activity: Give each student 2 mints or other candies in a wrapper (I had a bag of mini tootsie rolls that worked great!).  Have students answer the questions about a time they were ashamed (you could make one about times they had to wait, people they’ve dated, things they’ve been blamed for, etc).  Put the surveys at their feet and then begin to play.  Re-read question 1.  If they marked yes, they should pass a candy to the right.  If they marked no they do not have to pass a candy. Some may get stopped for a while without any candy because the person before them wasn’t embarrassed by some of the things.  That’s ok.  The winner will be the person who has the most candy (which means the person who was hardest to embarrass!)

The Shame Game chapter 2

A Great Presentational and Interpretive Mode Review Game!

Spanish 2 just finished reading the novel “Noche misteriosas en Granada.”  It is super engaging and is a great way to introduce Spain’s Moorish history via a novel!  

The suggested final review in the teacher’s guide was so much fun and I think it would work well with ANY novel, film, or story!

First student groups of four drew pictures of different events from the novel on a piece of butcher paper!  

Each group wrote two sentences (on separate index cards) about each picture.  When the sentences were written, they scrambled them and set the 8 cards in the center of the paper.


Then groups moved clockwise from table to table trying to match the sentences to the correct picture!  They had a great time and a great review of the story before our final writing presentation!

Give it a try!  The novel too!  We loved it!


Infographic Day!

Spanish 4 has been studying Narcoviolence with a Unit designed heavily around Kara Jacobs unit!  They were really engaged in the discussions we had throughout but today just blew me away!  

Our final project was to make an infographic!  

We spent 2 days in the library researching and a day assembling the posters.  Today, history fair day, they presented in 2 groups.  Group 1 stood by their poster awaiting guests from group 2.  As each person approached, student A summarized the main points of his/her research!  

As students moved from poster to poster, I walked among them listening to both the presentations and the follow up questions they were expected to ask!  I hid behind the tray of meat and cheese and sparkling grape juice to keep them from being nervous!  

 The snacks and grape juice idea came from Sharon Birch @sraslb!  It’s always a hit and I love doing it!

The infographics were a great alternative to a research paper and the kids were having so much fun going poster to poster that they were sad when they had to switch roles!  

The best part is that all of the speaking grades are already done and the projects are fun because they cover so many topics!