Question for the Group

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25 thoughts on “Question for the Group”

  1. No discussion here. They are using you. Seven classes is insane and they give those extra classes to the better teachers. How far can you be pushed Paul? Don’t allow it. It is clinically crazy, the decision of people who use, use and use and then throw out. Sorry not a more cheery answer, but you can’t put a pretty face on this. It’s real ugly.

  2. I went through the same thing last year with 8 classes. I started to feel like I just didn’t want to do anything with my students. I lost MY motivation. That was a scary place. I started thinking about become a nurse; I started brainstorming a novel. I am back down to 7 classes now and I get a plan hour and it feels much nicer.
    But I teach all levels. I can’t even imagine the feeling of the SAME LEVEL ALL DAY.
    My only practical advice is to start novels/reading much sooner than you normally would. Maybe shoot for 10-20 minutes or so of out-loud CI with a quick quiz then get to that day’s reading… and maybe even grammar.

  3. I’m so sorry this has happened to you, Paul. That schedule is bonkers. My advice would be a mix a James’ and Ben’s advice. Preserve sanity at all costs. Aim for short bursts of auditory CI and then do anything you can to give yourself a break. Worksheets, readings, timed writes, dictations, long-term in class projects, cultural videos, etc.. Your commitment to CI is awesome, but don’t feel like you’re betraying anyone if you incorporate large amounts of non-CI activities to preserve your own sanity.
    This schedule is not sustainable. I would start applying for jobs as soon as possible. Even a long-term substitute position may be worth jumping ship to, if one shows up. I don’t know what your home or family situation is like, but I would strongly suggest trying to find a way out. That being said, I wouldn’t quit your current job until you offered another one.
    You are important. You matter. You make a difference. Please make your mental and physical health a priority. This is a not your long term destination.
    Do you have access to technology? Language lab, computers, iPads etc?

    1. Paul, I would greatly lower expectations on what you can realistically achieve and the actual CI you can deliver, as others have said.
      If you have a computer lab, utilize it, unless it only adds stress. In some settings it will only make matters worse I’ve found. But Senor Wooly Pro is going live soon (or maybe already has) and is affordable. I haven’t used it yet, and so can’t totally vouch for it, but I helped develop some of the content and can vouch for it’s CI-ness. From what I know, it will be a great resource with lots of scaffolded simple input… and hopefully quite compelling.
      Also, if tech seems to be an easy avenue, give me a call and I can talk you through the process of Garagebanding stories. It sounds gimmicky, but in my experience it rocks the house (again, as long as the tech detour doesn’t cause MORE stress, which is often the case).
      I personally would try to keep up the personalized teacher-delivered CI and reading as I currently do. But given that I haven’t been in those shoes that you and Hosler and others have worn/are wearing, well, that advice may prove lofty.
      Where do you live Paul?

        1. Not happening anytime too soon, sorry, but if one were to go search on some tech threads they might find it in the comments. It is on my list of to-do items though.

  4. It has been a crazy three weeks for me, Paul, but nothing like what you are going through. Dictado has saved my butt. It is absolutely magical, a perfect bail out move. Take care.

    1. Different structures and stories with different classes. You can rotate stories and eventually all groups will get the same language if that is important to you. I do this to prevent my own boredom.
      I think TPRS is the most demanding form of TCI. It’s also the most beneficial. But I couldn’t sustain TPRS with my schedule either. Personalization requires a lot of interaction and the kids are giving 50%+, but not on all days in all moments do the kids buy in. Also, TPRS is more oral and less visual than other approaches.
      I find that using pictures, like L&D, MovieTalk, BookTalk (MovieTalk with a picture book) are easier on my energy levels. And then, like others say, reading with the class – novels or whatever – is also more concrete: the text works to scaffold the listening.
      I teach grades 3-8 and in the past I have put more in for the younger grades and get less out. Therefore, this year, I’m going to invest my energies into my middle-schoolers (stories, stories, stories!) and maybe compromise some of the TCI with the younger kids for my own sake. I find myself having to play the part more of entertainer with the younger kids during TPRS – shorter attention spans and harder to storyask without chaos.
      When I do have the energy, I have 7 new AMAZING puppets. All grades absolutely love using puppets, especially the larger ones that also allow you to manipulate the mouths. I have a tree puppet with eyes and you can move the eyes. So cool! I’ll probably do storytelling (less storyasking) with the younger grades and then have them act in groups (everyone gets a turn and more reps!).

  5. Paul teachers with normal class loads have to make 1300 decisions a day. So you’re over 1500, certainly.
    And I don’t know how long you have been teaching but 50% of all new teachers quit within the first five years that they spend in the classroom. The reason cited is lack of support. You don’t have any support. In fact, whoever you are working for is unconscious and absent in terms of the support you need as a teacher.
    This is pure burnout material. Look, honestly, five is too many. We all know it.

    1. Thanks Ben,
      I have not until now even had time to read these post. I’m barely breathing during class and don’t even have time to use the restroom (I’m not allowed to leave the classroom even during downtime). I’m very tired and I know that something will have to give. This is my third year teaching.

  6. Leigh Anne Munoz

    Holy cannoli, Paul! I have 6 classes of 33 each…I thought that I had it bad…thanks for making me feel like fortunate soul…
    Where the heck do you teach?
    My .02
    Do 15-20 minutes of CI and then the rest of the period of anything else….
    My thoughts are with you…
    -Leigh Anne in Ca

  7. And I know from reading their comments over the years that Leigh Anne and Paul, who have a combined student load, if I did the math right, of 502 students (Paul has 304 and Leigh Anne has 198) are being shackled with all these impossible numbers because they are so good at what they do. Surely this is the sign of a truly broken system, where the best people carry the greatest load and then, when the system breaks for good because those few really fine teachers just can’t carry the weight of it anymore, everyone looks around and asks what happened. I’ll tell you what is happening. Teachers in America are being worked like mules, shown no respect and now are being busted down on by small and narrow minded school boards.

  8. Thanks for all your thoughts. It nice to hear that you all think my schedule is crazy. All the teachers in the Spanish department are being worked just as hard here. This is my third year teaching in this school and numbers in the spanish department have doubled since I started. The counselors have recently (since this post) added more students to my classes and I have one class with 41 students. The german classes are sitting at 15 and the French classes are at a maximum of 25. I will be taking your advice. Thanks for all the support!!!! I need it!

    1. Paul, I see job openings up here in MN… check the MN TCI Facebook page… one starts in October (long term sub situation). I know that may not be feasible with other personal demands, but so that you know. MN teachers aren’t overworked like this, and I think are the highest paid of all states. And even though I’m an Iowa guy, MN isn’t too bad 🙂
      I honestly can’t believe what you are having to deal with.

      1. And Paul keep in mind that the international school scene is never abusive. In our school classes are capped at around 20, it seems. There seems to be an international “circuit” where teachers spend three years or so in Dubai or Bangkok or Viet Nam or another of the many international schools that serve the children of Americans living in these large metropolitan areas. I knew they existed but had I known what I know now I would have beaten doors down to get into one of these. They favor teaching couples in hiring to save on their own outlay but still at least 75% of teachers are not teaching couples. I feel that Sean and his wife and baby might do this some day. I can’t recommend it highly enough and if you have the TPRS/CI piece – if you read that astounding Latin job description posted here last week – you are going to get a job. Please keep us informed Paul. This is a very serious situation and I think the group’s response is a BIG red flag for you. The abuse will only end of you stop it. They won’t change a thing unless you make them. That’s how greedy self centered fools operate.

    2. It sounds more than crazy, Paul. I would feel embarrassed to tell you how many students I have by comparison. That your school isn’t providing enough Spanish teachers to keep up with classes needed is something they need to address.

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