I once went to see my son play a guitar class recital at Metro State University here in Denver. I didn’t go for the music – I went to see my son.
I firmly believe that it is the job of teachers to go out of their way to show genuine interest in younger people, and to fake that until they make it. However bad some of our students are at learning the language we teach, we may be be worse at reaching out to them. And we are the adults, so we bear the responsibility for their success.
I can hear the scoffs from where I sit already on that last point. But it is true. Sure, one or two kids may be destined to fail, but if you have more than that failing in your classroom, like 20 or 25% or more failing, now in the middle of the year, that is too many, and it may be time to look at what you, not they, are doing. Or look at the method you are using.
It really is time to quit hiding behind the cloak of academia in foreign language teaching. Teachers who lead with their heart are few and far between. But languages truly are way more than mere academic subjects. Language is so much more, so much more, than we think it is. Points like this one are now ready to be heard, and it is the new arrivals into the profession who will hear it and bring the change. Yes, they will.
I know that Blaine has taken a lot of shit from teachers trapped in their heads. But his overall effect on foreign language education, in my opinion, is that of a giant compared to them. It is not clear now, but one day it will be very clear.
Some of us actually think that what we teach, not whom we teach, is more important. It’s not more important. We are there to teach the kids.