Sabrina Janczak

Hi, my name is Sabrina Janczak. This is my 3rd year teaching high school French in the Greater Chicago area. I have also taught at the college level. Teaching is a second career for me. I am forever grateful to my methods teacher who had us read Krashen’s Natural Approach and introduced us to TPR and TPRS.
I have been reading about this method for the last five years and I’ve tried to do TPRS unsuccessfully in the last two high schools I have worked for. I have encountered resistance, scorn, threat, intimidation and plain sabotage from other language teachers who either felt threatened because I am a French native, or thought I was stupid for choosing this way of teaching.
I think I have finally found a place where I have some autonomy to teach as I see fit, in the Chicago Public School district. Although I am rather inexperienced, they assigned me a student teacher this year. I told her I was going to do TPRS and explained it, as she had never heard of it. I took her to a Blaine Ray conference a couple of weeks ago, and after being able to read a full page of German, she was sold. We have been doing TPRS since.
Sometimes I feel the isolation that comes from being the only TPRS teacher in my school and I wish I had someone to watch and coach me. However, after joining Ben‘s blog I have felt encouraged in my endeavor. I devour the wonderful posts and watch Ben’s videos over and over again. Naively, I wonder why so many FL teachers whom I’ve talked to about what the research on second language acquisition posits, pay lip service to CI.
There is such a discrepancy between how they understand the theory and apply it in their practice. I have given up on trying to convert other teachers, and paradoxically, some approach me now, and ask me to come and observe me as they see/hear my students and I having fun and learning. Although, I have not posted any posts, being in my silent period, I want to thank everyone and Ben for this wonderful blog.
I do not dare speak of strengths because I am still a novice.  However, at the two day seminar with Blaine last week, I received the following feedback from peer observations: I was told that I had a good pace, good pointing and pausing, and good delivery of the language. In the sphere of weaknesses, I have many to overcome.
Some of them are discipline related, getting the kids to buy into it, overcircling and losing kid’s interest, not knowing what structures to choose, and fear of failing.
This bio was a good exercise for self-introspection, thank you!



2 thoughts on “Sabrina Janczak”

  1. Hi Sabrina,
    I, too, attended the Blaine Ray workshop in Schamburg. As I recall, I thoroughly enjoyed your French lesson and for once, thought that I might be able to learn French! You have a great pace and I am sure you are doing a lot of things right. Keep up the good work and keep posting here! – Louisa

  2. Sabrina, you do have one primary strength, the important one – you are walking the talk. Being the only French teacher and the only CI practitioner, this blog has saved me too. What a bonus to be able to introduce a new young teacher to CI. She does not know how lucky she is! Glad to meet you.

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