Teacher of the Week

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21 thoughts on “Teacher of the Week”

  1. Karen, you deserve this honor!!!!
    I just had the opportunity to see another teacher of the week/year/millenium…… in action – Laurie Clarcq!!!!! She da bomb!!!
    I wish I could be a student in her class and enjoy her tremendous positive energy and spirit on a daily basis. Thanks again, so much, Laurie (and your amazing team) for rocking that conference.

    1. It was so wonderful to see you and Catarina!! (I know that you are lurking mi amiguita!) I hope that we can get a group together more often. It was such a positive experience and we got great feedback from the people in places of power in the state organization. :o) Couldn’t have done it without the marvelous attendees! The support, encouragement and excitement that you shared with first-timers is more powerful than anything that they hear from the person in the front of the room.

      with love,

  2. Oh how I long for the day when I am experienced and good at teaching this way! Every day when I struggle with my Chinese 2 class, I stop and review what is being accomplished in Chinese 1 where there is no resistance and the students take up everything I give them with gusto. They are making so much progress so fast. They even walk up to the Advanced kids in the hallway and start using the Chinese they’ve learned in class on them. This has had the interesting effect on the Advanced kids of bringing them around to CI and the new methods because they realize that, while they know what these level 1 kids are saying, they aren’t really fluent enough to do it themselves. So they have started working harder in class at staying in the target language.

  3. My level four kids cannot function at the level of my level 2 kids. The worst part is that their grammar is so fractured. And, even worse, they think that they are really good at French because they got A’s in their first three years of traditional teaching. Bummer for them. I have made progress, however, and it isn’t like it was when I was at East High School, if anyone reading this website back then remembers – I think I would rather be in actual hell than have to teach those entitled white jerks again who had gotten to level 4 French and really and truly and honestly didn’t know a damn thing. So it’s not like that at Lincoln, but, then again, these are really polite kids here, which plays into it. I am going to go way out on a limb with a completely random statement but what the hey, it’s my website – I think that the core problem in American education right now, and in our society in general, is about racial privilege and a sense of “being better than” and “working harder than.”

        1. Sorry there’s no edit function – I’ve tried. So it should read to indicate your agreement, Jody? It’s so weird bc it seems extreme, but now I’m starting to see everything in this light. Even history. How a group of old white men feel superior to others and use and manipulate law and the Constitution to impoverish others. In the Civil War a handful of rich white men sent tens of thousands of poor white men to their deaths and when they took the Northern bullets they died thinking that they were dying for their homeland, Dixie, but really they were dying to protect the slave owners’ way of life. Poor young men dying for rich old men. What the hell? I think I really started thinking about this when Krashen starting going around saying that the key to solving the problems of American education was to direct our attention to the issue of poverty. The link seems distant at first glance, but now I see it as the central issue. Again, I’m mentioning politics against my wish that this site not get political. Oh well, it must be the intensity of this month for us in politics.

    1. Sadly, that was me when I was a kid. To this day I am angry that I studied French through college level 3 and could never really use it. For a long time I thought I wasn’t that good at learning languages until I went to China and started picking up Chinese from daily life. So much of this method makes sense to me because it is close to how I learned Chinese.

      1. Well, you can take some solace in that if you were to go live in France now, all of that training in the mechanical aspects of French, all those rules, would come in handy now and be of great help to you in learning the language for real. So the time studying discrete grammar wasn’t totally wasted.

        Ha Ha! Just kidding. It was a total waste. Because if your mind didn’t hear it in a rich auditory and reading context that made sense to you, a context that provided meaning and interest and started and had its foundation in SOUND, then the time, money and effort was really a total waste in those classes taught by 4%ers to 4%ers. A total waste.

        Ha Ha! You’d think they would wake up one day to the harm they’re doing, wouldn’t you? I mean, they’re not stupid people. They’re ignorant, though. And ignorance is not a good thing. And they are also arrogant, aren’t they? They are ignorant and arrogant. Which one is worse? I vote for their arrogance being worse.

        1. Add lazy to that list. I am surprised by the teachers who don’t bother to explore other ways of learning, don’t take advantage of training opportunities or join listservs or any of that and then have the nerve to attack those who are trying to become better teachers! The worst thing about it is they don’t see how what they are doing is hurting the field. Why is foreign language always the first to get cut when schools are financially strapped? Even before P.E! When Ohio was making its core curriculum, originally we were going to require two years of fl for graduation, then all these people started screaming about how they took fl classes in high school and didn’t learn a thing . . . I read the letters in the paper. But did anyone question why? And it has ended up both costing teacher jobs and hurting us as a nation. But there are thinking teachers out there, aren’t there! And that is why the number of teachers switching to CI grows each year. What you guys have done at DPS is an inspiration.

          1. Its’ all Diana Noonan. She gets in people’s faces. But everytime I read a comment by you or Chris, I think about Ohio having all it needs now to get this thing cranked up for real. And then right next to you up and around the lake are Sabrina and Frank and Diane in Chicagoland and skip is doing it in Maine and jen is right next door with the Vermont regiment of one, jen, and Michele in Alaska. And the sturdy Minnesotans who are just all over it. And Southern California and the Bay Area have serious rebels running around planting comprehensible input stinkbombs just about everywhere they go. And there is that New Jersey enclave with chill and Jennifer there and Brigitte on the other side of New Jack City and so many other little pockets of resistance like Laurie up there in upstate New York. And sweet Kate taking care of business in Florida. We’re around, and we have a very strong message for these folks and we’re not going away. It’ll just take time. My prayer is that those who feel alone don’t get busted by that feeling. Being alone in this kind of work would be horrible.

          2. On that note, Teri Weichart is (1st or 2nd??) vice-president of OFLA, Ohio’s organization. She has been an active part of our TPRS thread two-year old “thread” at NYSAFLT and is planning a similar format for OFLA’s annual conference in April 2014. Gary DiBianca, another excellent TPRSer and national coach is teacher/administrator in Ohio as well. Ohians, if you would like to contact Teri, email me at lclarcq@rochester.rr.com and I’ll put you in touch!

            I am hoping to scope out Skip’s very successful model in Maine this coming weekend, because I think that regional conferences throughout the year are the wave of the future! Kate Taluga, Chill and I were tossing around the idea of a Southeast conference over the summer and Rochelle Barry is also hoping to be a part of that. (talked with her tons this weekend!)

            At the end of the NYSAFLT conference, the organizer (first vp, about to be Pres. next year and btw our pres this year is Mary Holmes, TPRSer extraordinaire !!!!!!!!) approached me and congratulated us on a highly successful thread. Said that he had heard raving reviews and wanted to talk soon about our state organization co-sponsoring a BIGGER VENUE FOR TPRS / CI TRAINING!!!!!

            Now that is a huge step…TWO state organizations, one midwest and one east, willing to sponsor these events. Add that to COACH’s support in California, Skip and company in Maine, a large number of TPRSers in Wisconsin and all of the power in Colorado. SWCOLT has long had a strong base of TPRSers. ACTFL is offering a significant number of TPRS/CI workshops this year.

            We aren’t going away.
            with love,

          3. The other power structure that we can emulate/personalize is that of the TPRS group in Anchorage! They have accomplished so much for the individual members that hundreds of students’ lives are being changed. Not only that, but many of that small group either blog and/or present…sharing even more of what a few dedicated and motivated teachers share with each other.

            with love,

          4. just a clarification…. there are now about 12? TCI teachers that attend our conference from Vermont…. They have become our friends and have been so supportive of our efforts to offer training. I am SO excited to see our friends from VT.


          5. Another clarification. No big deal. I love Vermont but I am in NH! I have no idea if there is anyone else in NH doing this, since I have not gone to any state conferences in at least a decade. Please let me know if you know of anyone!

            I would attend our state conference this year, just to scope it out, but frankly I am way over budget with staff development. I only get a token amount. This money covered part of the registration for iFLT, so everything else I’m doing is my own cash and I just don’t want to put money into anything unless I know it is going to be all CI all the time.

            So very excited to see folks in Maine on Thursday / Friday !!!

          6. Tamula,

            I am not sure the reason, it could be laziness, but I know for sure that the explanation for why so few teachers begin and, in my view, even fewer continue with the method, is because they do NOT make the adequate effort to study, read, practice and coach….

            This is a VERY difficult method. I am reminded of this at National where I can see so many try it and so many stumble and make excuses and engage in L1…..

            This is year 8 for me. I have attended 9 two day workshops, 2 national conferences (a week long each) and have spent thousands (I just checked with my wife and son and it is thousands:) of hours on this PLC, MoreTPRS and the websites of Susie, Jason, Ben, Carol, Bryce, Laurie and Michele (blog) Scott, etc, etc. and I STILL have a LONG way to go… BUT, the great news is that the more I invest, the more I learn, the more I practice the BETTER I get at delivering CI. My students are still telling me to go slower, but their progress has improved over the years too…

            I truly believe that the key to success is to help mentor, encourage and teach those who sign on to TCI with interest. If left to their own classroom with the method, they will fail and say that TPRS doesn’t work.

            At our conference on TR and FRI I am going to really put the coaching sessions that we started in August with with 8 teachers…. There is a lot of interest in those, it is just a matter of finding the time, making it a priority and fitting them in.

            How great would it be to have 2-3 day long coaching sessions a year in Maine, NH, and VT….(the 3 states well represented at our Maine conference)….


  4. It’s true. It’s the American apartheid that Jonathan Kozol writes about. In our city, we had a good superintendent for many years in the 1970’s and early ’80s who tried to distribute tax money fairly across the public schools and created a lot of good programs. The poorest high school had a special foreign languages program and the French students went to Paris on a trip. That was a huge incentive for students to continue their education. Now that school is back to being poor with nothing special to offer and nobody cares. Their football players made it to state last year and there was an article about how they don’t even have a locker room. Why are we going backwards? There is a lot to say about that.

    1. His book: Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools is perfectly named and also highlights a school in the southern part of Illinois. And since we have 2 former governors in prison right now, I can tell you that many crimes have been committed here in how schools are funded and more folks should be in prison for what is happening.

      But having lived outside of the US, I don’t see it as a racial issue as much as a symptom of what happens when too much power is sucked up from other people and that power intoxicates and changes brain chemistry…. It even happens in small places, and even …..yes, school boards….

  5. I think it is race and class both. Minorities sometimes buy into the equation. The old superintendent in my city who did a lot of good for the poorer districts was a European-American while the current one is African-American. My Chinese friends all move out of the city to the wealthy suburbs as soon as they get the income to do it. I went to one of these suburbs yesterday to use the library and had total culture shock. The stratification in America right now is so pathetic.

  6. I am going to pretend that the Karen is me because I need that support and confidence boost in my situation right now. I decided that I will put my last initial with my name from now on as I am sure that I am not the only Karen in the world.
    I think what is going on with me is that 1. these kids have never seen anything like this and are not sure what to think (and the first month was horrible because I was getting my barrings in teaching a new [to me ] class/level) 2. I think that I am encountering the same problem with my level 2 kids that Ben is encountering with his level 4 kids. They think they know stuff but they really don’t. My Spanish 1 kiddos usually end up being better writers than many traditional Spanish 3 kids because they actually write and don’t just do grammar worksheets. I also do not shelter grammer so they learn its le dice/ me dice/ etc. from day 1. We are so awesome!!!!
    That is one output I do force; writing. We do weekly free writes and end up with an awesome portfolio at the end. They only thing I grade on is NO use of English in Spanish I. Maybe I will grade a few other things in Spanish II though I like to keep my grading super simple.
    I talked to a friend and we decided that the workbook saga and the principal being called be a parent and all of the rest of the South High drama is just me being in a BAD SITCOM (and Ben I did get a kick out of the Teacher being from Denver South HS). I am going to see it that way and live it that way. I am in an actress in a bad sitcom that will only be on TV for a year before being cancelled. At which point, I will transfer to another school and this year will be remember as an off year.
    I love this PLC so much. Happy Monday.

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