Perfect is Boring
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Perfect is Boring

Perfect is boring.  No one likes the person who is perfect, or thinks he’s perfect, or strives always to be perfect.  It’s exhausting and thankless work to be perfect, and honestly, it is really annoying to the rest of us.  Because at the end of the day, none of us is perfect and in that […]

High Tide, Low Tide: The Ebb and Flow of Professional Development
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High Tide, Low Tide: The Ebb and Flow of Professional Development

#ACTFL16 was, again, an exciting, worthwhile experience for me. I find it incredibly energizing to be in setting after setting with like-minded language educators, be it a session, a meal, or a champagne toast, with dear friends or new acquaintances. It is important to sustain the energy that a convention activates and to reflect on […]

Continuing Your Conference Path
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Continuing Your Conference Path

Going to a conference, especially one as large as this year’s ACTFL Convention with over 8,500 attendees, can be incredibly invigorating. Meeting so many teachers who seem to understand just how you think, who understand your struggles, and who are trying to figure how to make this “proficiency thing” happen with their students. But even if […]

Beyond Meaning Making – Establishing Language Ownership (Part 1)
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Beyond Meaning Making – Establishing Language Ownership (Part 1)

As our field grapples with the difference between performance and proficiency, translation and meaning making, fluency and errors, grammar and functional language use, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own language learning experiences. Born and raised in Germany, I was fortunate to be exposed a second language in elementary school by learning Russian starting […]

What I Wish I Knew as a New Teacher
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What I Wish I Knew as a New Teacher

When I was observed as a new teacher by administrators and other people, they noted that I had a good rapport with the students, that I knew my content, that I stayed in the target language a good portion of the time, but that I needed to work on my classroom management. Our post-observation conference […]

Comparison: Challenging Tool or Thief of Joy?
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Comparison: Challenging Tool or Thief of Joy?

Have you ever had someone say something so startling that, in an instant, their words seem to smack you in the face with a reality check? I recently had one of those moments: an abrupt and much-needed a-ha! moment, that reminded me to be my best teacher self, I need to give myself grace and keep it all in […]

Conversation on the fly
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Conversation on the fly

So lots of people have asked me about this post I made on Twitter about speaking circles, and I can explain it better here than in Tweets. Best day! Whole-class speaking circle but w/ teams, new topic every 8 min, TL earns pts for team, Eng loses pts, top team & Indiv get prizes — […]

When Too Much is…Too Much (Stay on the Path!)
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When Too Much is…Too Much (Stay on the Path!)

Boy did I need Alyssa Villarreal’s recent post last fall–I was great about setting goals, but they were too many and too big! I spent the school year spinning, working non-stop and on the verge of burnout.   What followed was a summer spent recovering from my near burnout crash–with no work, no PD (I’m happy […]

Change is Hard
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Change is Hard

I have been trying to write a post for over a month, and nothing has been working.  I’ve been struggling with writing, deleting, thinking “this sounds ridiculous”, etc, so I’ve written nothing.  Tweets don’t count, although, I’ve at least been doing that a bit.  As I’ve thought about it, I think what the problem is […]

Creating Classroom Community
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Creating Classroom Community

We all talk about building classroom community and building relationships with the students, but I have to share a story with you all. I recently lost my voice for two weeks, which really messed with my identity as a teacher, much less a language teacher. But even though we’d only been in school a few weeks, […]