Report from the Field – Bob Patrick – 2

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



4 thoughts on “Report from the Field – Bob Patrick – 2”

  1. Gosh, Bob, I do not start with the kids until the Friday after Labor Day! Please keep your fab daily updates coming. Great way to decide who gets what job!

  2. Wonderful report Bob. Keep them coming. Actually that is a seven syllable word you used there and doesn’t count as a four letter word. Besides, some of what happens in our classes needs extreme descriptors like that that may not be conventional. We shouldn’t be afraid of offending people anyway, it’s kind of what we do.

    What I notice about those two classes today and your use of the term “getting lost in the story” is a most important idea for us all to embrace. We have been so stuck in our minds and in left brain analysis, it is almost as if when one of us goes into whole brain learning and full-on stories we feel scared, and that something is wrong because we surely never experienced anything like that ourselves when we were language students.

    But nothing is wrong when comprehensible input – even bad comprehensible input – happens in class. When a child by a fire over the past thousands of years was brought into the mystical land of a story, her attention was not on the language and yet she was learning it. Either we emulate that process or we support the grammar way.

    We have to make a choice. We can be language teachers or storytellers. That is what is so dramatic about this new work. Reports like this from the field of battle – where Bob lit more than a few fires today – are necessary for us to hear.

    Bob, we would like to hear more and more and more of your daily reports, if you have the time now as schools crank up. Each such report builds my own confidence, I know that. It makes me feel as if I can do it, no matter how soul-dead my urban kids have become to school, because their sadness and reticence (based on pure fear) to show up as themselves in my classes wrenches my heart more than I could ever express.

    One more thought – school buildings are getting more and more toxic. I direct this comment to younger teachers. Younger teachers – do not let the culture of the building make you think that there is anything wrong with you when you do this work of making stories.

    Stand strong, fall hard, get up, fall hard again, break your nose even (either by falling flat on your face in class or in a fight with a naysayer), but know that refusing to insult your children with the book and honoring them with comprehensible input – no matter how awkward you feel when you first try it – has the potential to bring the very happiness that is now missing in schools back into them.

    It is our choice. We either go in and get lost in the story and the dialogue in L2, thus recreating a very natural process designed by Love, or we get lost in the book. If we do the latter, both we and the kids get lost in that kind of fear that we all know but could never describe to non-teachers and those among our profession who lack empathy.

    Buldings are now officially toxic. Toxic stuff happens in schools. Our children have become pin cushions for bad things. We can help stop that by inviting them to our fires and our stories each day.

    That’s my lecture for young teachers for the day and admittedly a bit of a ramble. But these are the days when many of us, no matter how long we have been teaching, are filled with the fear that we won’t be any good at teaching the language we love so much. Later in the year, our fears will be mainly all around toxic kids. But we can avoid that right now by establishing the rules and personalizing and calling parents right away, so that they can help their child understand what is expected of them in our classes, as is discussed elsewhere on this site.

    Young teachers – stand tall. Look out for fear! Protect the kids from thinking that they are stupid. They are not stupid.

    OK, ramble over.

    1. Bob,

      You last posts have fueled my passion and desire to get more and more teachers to use this method. It is great that it makes the life of the teacher better. That though is secondary. My real motivator is the students – the ones that endure the pain, frustration and humility of being forced to conjugate verbs and learn grammar….

      Your posts are pure joy! Who would not want what you have?

      keep us posted!

  3. Ben you are SO GOOD at making us so much more aware of what we are doing is RIGHT – thank you! and BOB….thank you SO much for your inspirational daily stories!!!
    When I was at the pool today (for much-needed mental therapy!) there was a time that I was the only one. The teenage female lifeguard came and sat on one of the diving platforms, and we started to chat as I was taking a break – which turned into a 1/2 hour! She found out I was a teacher, we talked about her coach and a couple of her teachers that I knew from school or my kids growing up, and she was saying how she has taken 2 years of Spanish and can’t even carry on a conversation. I explained to her not to give up, and told her to think about how she learned her first language – and a lightbulb went off and she smiled and said, “oh yeah!” When we were talking about books (she complained that she’s had to read boring books in English class; but she loves one of her Spanish teachers – my long-time friend that I haven’t seen in years!) I asked her what books she has read in Spanish. Well, she looked at me with a STUNNED look on her face, and said, “None. Why, do you read books in your classes?” when I told her ‘yes’, she said, “WOW. That would be so much more fun and interesting – and NEAT if I could understand it all!!!”
    That was such a defining comment for me – AND this post from Bob. Little by little, and thanks to small things like these, I am getting myself ready for a new year.

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben