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Posted By Chalkbrd

This morning I thought I'd do a bit of tweeting research and figured I'd share what I found.  What are kids thinking about their Spanish teachers?  I've listed a few current tweets from unknown students below.

Not everyone is going to like my class, and that I'll never be able to change because some comments kids make about me are about things that are out of my control.  But some of them are things I can check in myself today.

Every so often I try to step back and look at myself through the eyes of a student.  Do I have habits that might be considered annoying?  (I still remember Mr. L in junior high who continuously clicked a pen against his leg during his lectures...fortunately, he fell into the category of the first tweet below so we tolerated Am I adding energy into our lessons or would I fall into the monotone category today?  Did I do anything today that made a student feel they were stupid?  (I remember a college Spanish class where the professor made me feel stupid in front of everyone for not knowing the meaning of mentir.)

I'm not picking on Spanish teachers (especially being one, but I was just wondering what my students used to tweet about me.  Some days I'm sure it wasn't that great.  Maybe I should have stepped back a bit more and reminded myself what it was like to be a student.

Maybe if I had, I might have had more tweets about me like that last one.

"He is seriously so cute!"

"Hates monotone people"

"RT @TSD: Hates monotone people"

"Lol school sucks and everyone thinks its funny to be sarcastic with me #spanishteacher #peoplethinkimstupid"

"Yesterday you wore black and brown and today you're wearing black and blue #spanishteacher #getwithit Hahaha I know!"

"I hate dealing with this lady, she annoys me #spanishteacher"

"BH is the best #spanishteacher ever"

Posted By Chalkbrd

Field of Corn My dad has always been a farmer at heart.  Even when he worked at another job for over 50 years, he and his two brothers slowly acquired farmland so they could do what they loved the most.  Only a few years ago, the three of them (all in their 70s at the time) were farming more than 1,000 acres.

I remember riding with my dad as we'd travel through the countryside during the summer, and he'd comment about the fields we passed.  Most of them were nice, straight rows of green plants, stretching off into the distance.  There was one field, though, that I remember in particular.  The rows weren't straight, and it made both of us laugh.

"The secret to straight rows," my dad told me, "is to keep your eyes on the end of the row.  If you're too focused on what you're doing right now, that's how your rows will end up, all crooked."

This was a lesson I took with me into my teaching.  When I was in the middle of the year, it was easy for me to get caught up in all the immediate things that needed to be done, and I sometimes forgot about where I was going.  In times like that, when I started to wonder if we were really getting somewhere, or if we were merely spinning our wheels, I tried to remember those fields we'd seen.  I wanted my rows to look straight to those who were outside observers.  I wanted my students to look like they'd learned so much.  But I also had to remind myself that if I wanted that to happen, I had to keep my eyes focused on what my end goals were and not get so caught up in the day to day setbacks.

When times got tough and my rows weren't quite as straight as I wanted them to be, my dad reminded me of something else.  It didn't really matter in the long run if the row was straight or not.  The real goal of any farmer was for his crop to grow.  And you know what?  When the crop grows enough, you can't tell if the rows are straight or not anymore.

If I messed up a bit here and there throughout the year, it really didn't matter in the long run.  If my students met their goal at the end of the year and produced the crop of language acquisition, then I could be satisfied with my fields.

Posted By Chalkbrd

January is a tough time of the year for both teachers and students.  This is the beginning of that long stretch of time before spring break, fondly known as the third nine-weeks for many schools.  Normally there is little sunshine, cold temperatures, and a gloomy closed-in feeling seems to permeate everything.

But we teachers have a responsibility.  We have to close our eyes to things around us and put a smile on our faces.  Our eyes are focused on what lies ahead, as we plan our road to get our students to the end of the year.

Let me encourage you to keep going.  It will be worth it when you look back over the year, and you see how far your students have come this year.  The doldrums only last for a few weeks.  You can make it through!