When I attend conferences like IFLT, I feel badly when I steal from the experts without sharing. In order to participate with minimal sleepless nights, I decided to share during the IFLT lunch talks last month. I had planned on sharing strategies to deal with CI inhibitors that many of us have to work around, but it surprised me to discover that it’s super complicated to solve the world’s SLA problems in a short amount of time. So, at the last minute, I decided to confess all of my teaching no-nos and faux pas instead of trying to tell everyone else how to fix theirs. The presentation transformed from a mountain of useful takeaways to a coming-together of shameful misfits.

The moral of the story, which had to be cut from the video in order to protect student stories and our learning experiences together, is that we need to remember to focus on people instead of practices. This is the only way many of us who are reflective practitioners can deal with the stresses that come with not being perfect providers of comprehensible input. 

Parts of the talk were filmed, but before you are allowed watch the clips in video above, you’re required to read all of my disclaimers so that I might salvage any possible future career opportunities:

  • Many of my comments were just jokes and not factual, because my goal was to provide some comic relief about our common struggles. Sometimes jokes seemed perfect at the time, but were actually a little harsh with time to reflect. I’m sorry in advance if any of the jokes offend you. I tried to remove all of the border-line comments.
  • :47 – Half-True: Most of the output I require is yes/no, a one-word answer, or scripted dialogue for a story. However, once in a while I do like a little forced output. A. I’m a rebel and it’s fun. B. Most principals want to see our students talking when they arrive for an observation. I’d prefer to meet their requirements instead of faking it at the last minute.
  • 1:25 – True: I’m genuinely amazed with Linda Li. I spent hours learning Mandarin Chinese with her at NTPRS, and she is a CI Magician. I’m certain that you could drop me Beijing without a guide and I could manage to find a man who walks romantically while carrying a sexy pizza.
  • 1:56 – True: My family members have financed the majority of my DonorsChoose projects. They’re not rich, but their love don’t quit. Merry Christmas! Happy Birthday!
  • 2:23 – False: Sure, there are always a few kids (10%) who are in LaLa Landia for a minute during FVR time, but I just toss the stank-eye and they get right back to it. It’s not like we should ask them to complete a reading log -> #FunBuster
  • 2:40 – Half-True: The Reading Sheriff did really buy his outfit, but he also spent hours and hours engrossed in amazing Spanish readers. I’m the only Sheriff in town.
  • 2:51 – False: I do model reading in order to increase SLA with my students, and it’s a bonus to be able to take an immersion break while on the clock.
  • 3:26 – True: I have spent a lot of Breckley money at TPT! Who doesn’t need a weekly subscription to El Mundo En Tus Manos?
  • 3:56 – Half-True: I did start the NBCT process by joining a writing cohort, but I haven’t quit… We’re just on a ‘break’. #ItsComplicated
  • 4:21 – Half-True: I do have difficulty remembering to take attendance on time, because I’m much more interested in what my students are doing, but I realize it’s an important part of our jobs.  Even if teacher pay scales make you feel like you’ve earned a C on the money-making rubric, a teaching degree is something that we should all be proud of.
  • 4:55 – False: I said that I don’t stay up late reading tweets, but I actually do. Sorry I lied. It’s a learning addiction because there are so many of you who can fix our teaching issues online. In addition, Krashen is totally comprehensible, and I love his stories about his travels to interview polyglots more than anything.
  • 5:18 – True: If you don’t love Jeremy Jordan, it’s time for some deep reflection. Fortunately, I do get comments to slow down my input on a regular basis, which is why I love sharing videos so much. Most teachers don’t get so much free PD and lesson critiques on a regular basis. I’m the lucky one.
  • 5:57 – True: I do love Annabelle Allen. Yeah, she’s a fabulous teacher and her students love her, but her hugs are even more amazing. My students totally question my caffeine intake and think I’m awkward, but it helps keep their attention when they’re sleepy from an all-night Fortnite binge.
  • 6:56 – Half-True: I really really really think that more of us should be writing books! Krashen has spent his life proving to us why this is such a necessary endeavor, so some of you talented teacher-writers need to step-up! However, the assumption that all of us are qualified to sell our stories only minimizes the skill and talent that our community of writers has provided for us. To think that Mira Canion, Kristy Placido, Craig Klein, Jim Wooldridge and more are anything but gifted is inaccurate, so it’s okay if we don’t ALL write a book. #NotMe
  • 7:46 – Half-True: So, I haven’t attempted many group selfies because the fear of ending with a selfie is real. Selfie Queen Meredith White is an expert in many things, and one of them happens to be providing CI while building her classroom community via selfie activities. Here is her amazing Chat in a Snap presentation!
  • 8:38 – True: If you haven’t subscribed to SenorWooly.com yet, today is your day! His stories and music videos make the target language entertaining and comprehensible. Read my post about this resource here
  • 8:50 – True: Our curriculum used to be based on a textbook, but you can’t always get what you want in the era of required common assessments and PD droughts. Our department has come very far, and the comprehensible storytelling movement is gaining ground in schools worldwide.
  • 9:23 – True: Only 1 student of 123 said that he/she would not recommend my class. I shared this to transition to student success stories that had little to do with academics, SLA or my ability to provide comprehensible input. We must remember that we teach students before we teach subjects, we should love like parents instead of practitioners, and we need to connect with children before we connect with content.

Experiencing IFLT is one of the greatest learning opportunities a language teacher can have, but I’ll save my justifications for another day. 

Thanks for reading. 🙂



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