Pace and Place

With fingers crossed for no bad luck I say… I think I’ve taught in every imaginable scenario this year.

  1. I began the year fully virtual with students in hybrid cohorts.
  2. We went full virtual and so everyone was with me online.
  3. Everyone went back face to face (with the exception of a few remote learners) and I was at home.
  4. I am at school face to face with almost everyone and I have a few remote learners.

There are times it has been hard, times I thought they weren’t learning anything, times I thought I wasn’t learning anything, and times I thought we were all going to quit. BUT… it’s almost May (insert Justin Timberlake “It’s gonna be May” meme) and we just had our final assessment of the year. Friends, everything turned out alright!

Level 1 has definitely been hurt the worst having no prior experience with language but they are just starting so we can work on that next year! Spanish 2 is not quite as confident and comfortable as students have been in previous years. Spanish 3 was largely unaffected and Spanish 4 has really soared in spite of a MESSY year.

Considering what they’ve been up against, students at ALL levels knocked their writing and speaking assessments out of the park. It’s like I’d been holding my breath all year… worried that they were going to be deficient in some area. But there is NOTHING we can’t fix next year!

So… that means it’s time to think about NEXT year.

It’s funny. I have no idea what it will look like.

*Will we wear masks?

*Will they be able to work in groups?

*Will we be back to a full day schedule?

But in spite of the uncertainty, I do not feel like I did heading into last summer. Last summer I was nothing but anxious. We had no roadmap for what we were about to do! But now we’ve done it. It wasn’t always pretty… but we did it!

So how do we look to 2021-22? We have to consider two key factors:

Pace and Place

  1. Place – Our level 1 students only got through half of what they would normally do this year.
    • This means Spanish 2 is going to be in a different place next year than Spanish two was this year or in 2019.
    • Knowing that place is going to be our most important tool for success next year.
    • We’ll have to throw out misconceptions about rigor, “material to be covered”, and our old plan books in favor of adaptations that will meet the incoming group where they are.
  2. Pace – While knowing WHERE they are is most important, knowing the pace at which we can move is our second priority!
    • Just because Spanish 2 has always completed 10 units in the first semester doesn’t mean that Spanish 2 CAN complete 10 units next year.
    • We don’t yet know what effect the educational roller coaster they have been on will have… so plan to be flexible with your pace!

I mapped out the starting points next year for our students and made some goals for where I would LIKE to go throughout the year.

*Know that our updated Scope and Sequence documents are just a draft and that we will be moving in pace and place with our students so they’re subject to change!*

If you would like to see what our map in the new year looks like, these are SCHS’s 2021-22 Scope and Sequence documents.

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 gmail.com.

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