I just finished up a 30 hour week of AP re-training. I met some amazing teachers- our state is really coming along in World Language education! I gleaned many great ideas for my AP Spanish Language and Culture course, and for my FOUR OTHER COURSES as well! The thing I keep coming back to is: how do I make sure I put all of these ideas in place and hold everything together, keep everything planned, organized, and flowing smoothly when I have five total preps and a new full-time job entitled “Parent Involvement Facilitator”? This summer I am putting together my “master plans”, if you will, but there will most definitely be days when the master plan is not enough. I have set three main targets that I feel will keep me focused, centered, and grounded all at the same time.
1. Be consistent.
This truth was made clear by our amazing AP consultant this week: Dra. Gloria Garza. I could seriously listen to her speak everyday for the rest of my life. But I digress. Each day when my students come in, they need to know exactly what the procedures are, and exactly what my expectations are. If I can be consistent with these two things, then much of my work will be done for me (by the students).
2. Know my students.
I must remember to stay focused on my students’ likes, dislikes, their strengths, their “areas of improvement”, their proficiency levels, and what they want to learn (i.e. what will motivate them), and let this drive my teaching on those days things start to feel like they are slowly falling apart. When I know my students and am focused on their forward progress, then I am staying aligned with everything that is expected of me.
3. Never forget the power of a good story.
No, I don’t consider myself a TPRS teacher. But I do love what I good TPRS lesson does for my students. On those blurry days when I know my students are not ready to move on, or I have missed a step in my planning (again, I repeat, for FIVE courses), a good story that incorporates plenty of CI and is driven by my knowledge of my students (#2 above), will ensure that I am progressing the learning of my students, staying aligned with state frameworks, national frameworks, Common Core standards, and whatever else the educational system feel like throwing at me on any given day!
What works for you when your master plan feels “shaky”?