The Train is Rolling

I started back to school last Thursday with a full day teacher’s institute. I had been in my classroom at the end of July shooting some tutorial videos with my students and Señor Wooly and already had the bug to get back in the swing but I did enjoy the three final summer weeks!

It’s funny, last year I had challenges in the classroom that I hadn’t had for 10+ years. It was a difficult year a lot of days. As the first day with students drew closer, I have to admit that I was a little nervous about a repeat! The year had left me tired from all the adapting, rewriting, and reworking I had to do to engage and encourage the students I had in front of me! Whether they wanted to be in front of me or not!

Last Friday, I even woke up with a stomach ache! I haven’t done that since my first day at the new school, the day the principal at my old school was mad at me for making popcorn for my 8th hour class, or the day the parent was mad because I taught about immigration (which he said is illegal). But the day came and went, and with it a whole new beginning! It was a GREAT day! We are going to have an amazing year in Wildcat Spanish this year. (Technically we did last year too… it was just exhausting!)

I’ve got 3 days in now and we’re doing all kinds of bonding in our new class communitites. In a variation of Ben Slavic’s Circling with Balls, my Spanish 2 are discussing what they and their classmates did over the summer (past tense stories), Spanish 3 have made 2 goals for the 2018-19 school year (future goals), and Spanish 4 are discussing what they would do if they could spend a day as a classmate (if… then with the subjunctive!) They’ve done their first FVR today (8 minutes at level 2-4), done their first song of the week (To’ my love- Bomba Estéreo), and are prepping for their first story from the same song packet! Before we know it, we’ll have a quarter behind us! And as crazy as it sounds, a whole semester… that second quarter goes by in a flash.

Have a GREAT year! Enjoy the ones you have in front of you and remember that if it is a challenging year, the next can be a new beginning! Don’t lose hope!

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at

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