Let’s get real.

It’s hard to learn a language, most teachers can’t spend a couple years immersed in their target language to advance on the proficiency scale, we can actually recognize our own errors and accents, and yet we have to model authenticity every day.

  • I acknowledge that I am the best source for input that my students have.
  • It’s a fact that there is a shortage of language teachers in many states, and to expect a huge native speaker pool is unrealistic.
  • I realize that being a master linguist comes second to educator effectiveness.
  • I understand that language acquisition is a process over time that requires years and years of input.
  • HOWEVER, I still feel insecure when being observed by a native speaker.
  • I can’t help it.

So, when Marta Ruiz Yedinak messaged me on Twitter to ask if she could spend the day with me in my classroom, there were a few more butterflies than usual for an observation. There’s no footage editing a live feed!

Of course, we had a blast, we both learned a lot, we collaborated over assessments, planning, culture, and more.

But you know I just had to bring up that dreaded topic…
“So, was my Spanish okay?”
“Were there any errors that made me incomprehensible?”
“Was my accent so bad?”

Her responses were too amazing to keep to myself, and they apply to all non-native language teachers. So, of course, we had to have the conversation over again, and this time we filmed it for all you insecure non-natives around the world to hear.

Take it in 🙂

Some of my favorite Marta quotes:

“It’s just as ridiculous to think that because you are a native English speaker your English is perfect.”

“We need to have our expectations where they’re supposed to be.”

“I believe that accents are beautiful regardless of where they’re from.”

“I am not expecting you to pronounce perfectly. I’ve been here for 20 years and I still have an accent.”

“As long as it doesn’t interfere with communication, you are meeting the goal.”

“We need to stop being arrogant.”

“It’s okay to tell your students, “Let me go check”. They are seeing that you are human.”

“You need to teach them how to be humble, kind learners.”

“Keep polishing your CI skills”

“When you find yourself singing in that language, it does something magic.”

Check out some of the Tweets in support and of relief!

Thanks again, Marta! You’ve made thousands of teachers feel the native speaker love! 

Marta y Sarah – Tenemos acentos, pero son bonitos. 😉


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