Beth’s second email, dated July 28:
I wish that I had come across these new ideas I’m now embracing sooner — yours and Tina’s work, in particular. I talked with one of my wonderful mentor teachers this afternoon, Dr. Kim Pate, and I shared with her how deeply that regret runs. I regret the missed opportunity for my kids who “got” what I was teaching but still left my classroom without the gift of real communicative competence in a second language. But even more than that, face after face comes to mind of kids who struggled in my previous classes. Some of them I was able to “drag along” to at least pass my course, and some of them I just couldn’t. There are faces of students I most recently “missed” that particularly haunt me. Just what a difference would it have made if I had been using this method for most of my fairly long teaching career?
Kim graciously reminded me that I just didn’t know. She also pointed out that our district’s PD opportunities for foreign language teachers are literally nonexistent, and that things tend to reach us slower here, down south. She offered her perspective on your resources, saying something like, “Well, that’s one of the greatest things I see about Ben’s work. He’s just brilliant at finding better ways to reach more and more kids.” And then she pointed out that when I DID find out, I embraced the daunting process of change.
With people like her and you in my corner, even anticipating that there will be bumps in the road, how can this NOT work?
I’m pouring over your book and I have told anyone who will stand still long enough to listen to me all about the changes I’m making this year! My mother, in particular, sends you her heartfelt thanks, as well! LOL She says she’s not heard this level of excitement in my voice for years now.
(sigh) You see… there I go again! I was going to write a “quick little thank you” and let you enjoy the rest of your summer in peace. Oh, well.. The best laid plans of mice and men…
I will be sure to share my first successes with you, big or small.
Spanish / Musical Theater Teacher
Northside High School
“Treat people as if they’re what they ought to be, and you help them become what they’re capable of being.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship