Leigh Anne Munoz

Here is a bio post from Leigh Anne Munoz, Chino Hills High School, Chino Hills, CA. I like the way she told us her school and city and state. If you want to do that, just send that information to me – it’s really a good idea for us – and I will add it to your current bios. If you send in a future bio, please include your location.
Thank you
Over the past ten years, the state of California gave me approximately 30 days of training in TPRS. Thanks to encouraging colleagues, conferences and reading online, I have grown.
This year, things have gotten even better; 5 teachers (none on my own campus, mind you) have come to me for advice.  I am on cloud nine.  For this latest development, I have Ben to thank – his raw, confessional, candid, nuanced writings and commitment to serving his students has helped me so much. Thanks, Ben – you’re the best! Tchin-tchin! (Cheers!)
Oh, and one student passed the AP after just 3 years of French, non–native.
I am a non-native speaker of Spanish and French.  Teaching has helped me learn these two languages bit by bit.  English grammar fascinates me, but I was never a 4%er in my L2 and L3.  Proficiency-wise, I am only an intermediate speaker!  C’est scandale!
My feelings about this are mixed:
– shame, for not knowing more; and,
– pride, in being able to produce students who produce French.
This is the sanitized version…the conflict persisted overthe first 15 years of my teaching and I’d rather forget it.  But maybe someone can take something useful from it.
Departmental politics regarding expectations on types of assessment, student outcomes/benchmarks/norms kept me in a box.  I wanted to give up a thousand times; I cried a thousand tears.  After investigating half a dozen various career paths, I decided to stay in teaching and to learn and teach French.  I’m so glad I stayed in teaching.
17 years of teaching two foreign languages at the elementary, junior high and senior high levels (mostly level 1 and 2Spanish).
11th year with comprehensible input, TPR(S)-type ideas, games, reading
7th year with inventing stories in class with student-generated details
4th year using Ben Slavic’s techniques (‘student of the day’ cards, AKA ‘circling with balls’)
French I – the first four periods of each day (53 minute periods; 37 students per class). I love it; they make my morning go by so fast!!  They are so funny and unique.
French III (Honors)/IV-AP combo ( 24 students total = 13 level III(H)’s and 11 level IV-AP’s) – after lunch, with 23 crazy girls and 1 lucky(?) boy!
– special ‘scaffold’ dictées (I’ll describe them when I decide if I like them or not)
– students trained in pointing on reading day(s).  I can better monitor the students, plus, the students are all watching their classmate.  It is not perfect, because the boys are not my top students and aren’t much for reading. Hmmm… maybe that’s why I think things are working so well. (?)  My students take all the ribbing they get from their classmates as though they were actors, and they go slower than I do.  In addition, we have to ‘start over’ many, many times….
What I need help with- First period – they don’t respond! I need some encouragement. I don’t want to lose them.  What would Susan Gross do?  Help!
One more ‘thank you’- Without my colleague Gilbert, who uses French In Action, I would not be writing to you right now.  His radiant, charming personality packs them into our classrooms.  I get to train them my way in level 1; I skim students off his level 2 and 3 classes to skip up to my combo 3-4 AP class.  He can take all the less academic/language-oriented kids off my hands and have fun with them for 2 years.  For me, it is win-win.  May God bless my colleague, Saint Gilbert Lanathoua.



4 thoughts on “Leigh Anne Munoz”

  1. Hi Leigh Anne,
    Your bio resonated with me. As a fellow French teacher and one who toils alone both with the language and the method, I am looking forward to your insights. Glad to meet you!

    1. PS: My French one class -31 kids, 40 minute period – are also very quiet. I pulled out a few props and did Jan Holter Kittok’s Wizard of Oz story on Friday with actors. That seemed to bring them to life. They do the gestures and seem to like the songs, but they “sag” easily. It’s like pulling teeth to get them to ask for clarification. They are almost too quiet sometimes. I have hesitated to do full blown stories because only a few seem to get the game and I don’t want to lose anyone. I am looking for more of a buy in.

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