Teacher of the Month – November 2014 – Catharina Greenberg

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15 thoughts on “Teacher of the Month – November 2014 – Catharina Greenberg”

  1. I second that! Congrats Catharina, and thanks for giving me more confidence in the elementary classroom than I would have had without your input. You’ve honestly made a positive impact on my teaching with the littler ones.

  2. Cheers Catherina! As a novice teacher, I am honored that you would dialogue with me on teaching at our two NYC area meetups, not to mention all your contributions here. And that you, with the experience you have, still do no claim to know it all. Such refreshing humility. And since you’re one of the few people here teaching very little ones, deeply in touch with the need for extreme simplicity and how to achieve that with easily off-task students, your input is so important here, contrary to what you have told me at both of our meetups.

    P.S. I wish I had you as a department head. I just got observed for the last 10 minutes of class by mine, who proceeded to tell me after my kids left only (ONLY) the things she felt needed to be improved. I guess it’s kind of like the French system of correcting errors more than praising? I’m sure, bless her heart, she means to be helpful, but I did not feel helped. To be honest, I sort of tuned her our because she continually cut me off when I tried to speak, and she also started talking about things like practicing vocab, which I don’t really understand anymore. Will you please leave your little ones and come be the department head over here? It’s right down the road. Or just pull some strings and get me a job at your school so I can come work with someone sane. I beg you.

    1. Totally agree about how unhelpful the lack of positive feedback is from an admin, Greg. I have the “Curriculum Coach” whose job is just to visit teachers classrooms and give feedback. After meeting with him weekly for 30 minutes since the beginning of the school year, I often wish he would just go away. Ironically, it’s more like I’m coaching him on what teaching a foreign language looks like than it is him coaching me. Oh well, if that’s how I have to gain some clout help students learn, so be it. If I’m not mistaken, that’s how Diana Noonan was able to turn DPS into a mecca for CI, but winning over admin.

    2. Greg I was talking to Miriam Patrick in Atlanta – her dad is Bob Patrick so the apple doesn’t fall far from the CI tree – about department heads just today. She has endured a tough four year tenure under one of those people in her school. But that person left this year and was replaced by a CI teacher. Now their entire department is moving to CI rapidly. I asked Miriam to write it up for us as a report from the field.

      At this point in the unfoldment of this way of teaching languages we need to remember that working with such people is more the norm rather than the exception currently but that is changing every day. Thus, we are best advised to have hope and to bear the kinds of insults that you described above, Greg, and they ARE insults, with dignity and poise until the change happens in our own buildings.

      Remember, we in DPS went from a district with five CI teachers out of one hundred to eighty CI teachers, in five years. The ones getting jobs are the ones speaking to their kids meaningfully in the TL and that is not something the old guard can change.

      1. What you are doing Greg is remarkable !!!
        Always remember and have confidence that anything you do is far far better than what has ever been done in the FL classes in that particular school. Your department head cannot possibly appreciate the beauty of teaching with CI. It is too refined for her. Way above her understanding of FL pedagogy. She is one of those dinosaurs Ben mentioned. You threaten her with your fine craft. What else could she do but scramble to say … something. I’ve been a parent there for too long. I should know…

        You are a gift to that school. The students are very lucky. Your previous superintendant was foolish to let you go. It is wonderful to have a diverse teacher corps, and men are still the minority unfortunately. I am looking out for a better fit for you, preferably as my colleague, or in another “cool” school. They do exist.

  3. Congratulations, Catharina! It is been great talking with you in this PLC. You’ve been a big help to me as well, especially last school year in trying to improve my elementary teaching, but in general as well. Those early years have a lot of application to older students, too. I entirely agree about your great sense of humility and pursuit of excellence.

  4. And the award goes to a most deserving person. Congratulations, Catharina! I, too, read your posts to gain new insights and ideas. You have contributed much to everyone’s teaching – or at least to all of us who read your posts carefully (and I’m willing to bet that’s pretty much everyone in the PLC). My district is slowly (as in glacier-like slowness) moving in the direction of introducing foreign language instruction at the elementary level. I wish we had someone with your knowledge and wisdom leading the way.

  5. In 2009 on April 22, I remember the date, I had the choice of either becoming officially an American citizen or go to a local TPRS workshop. There was no doubt in my mind. I chose the workshop. Ironically the conference never happened and 6 months later I went under oath in front of Barack Obama’s cardboard cut out. Both memorable events in their own way.

    It wasn’t extravagant or crazy. Just a little crazy. That was before I knew about this blog.

    As my bear cubs were clowning around today, I wondered if I had any grasp of what TCI should look like. How I even dared comment on this very blog. Ironic -again- that I should be given this month’s award. I am so honored.

    Thank you for the inspiration.
    This blog brings me so much joy.

    Thank you. Thank you.

    1. Again, this blog needs a “like” button…as I would have pressed it to “ditto” all of the already wonderful comments made about/to you, Catharina. I only wish I had more time to read all of the posts as they arrive. But, thanks for continuing to share your wisdom.


  6. I am so happy to see this post! Catherina, your insight and encouragement have been monumental for me in my CI journey. Thank you for your generosity and openness. It means more than you even know!

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