This may be a controversial position to take, but after decades as a Spanish learner and years of conversations with Spanish teachers from around the world, I believe that if you are a Spanish teacher teaching young kids or teenagers, you have a more important job than teaching them Spanish. Learning Spanish completely changed my life! In 2005, I presented my first book in Spanish in national TV in Puerto Rico.
You need to focus on making the language learning process fun for them as your primary goal!
I know this goes against what you may be required to do by your administration, school or district. So bear with me here for a moment to see why I say this.
Imagine you could keep your students engaged and passionate about learning Spanish… all year long.
It’s not easy to achieve this in a 30, 60 or 90 minute class…. one, three or even five times a week and at the same time teach the fundamentals that students need.
Why? Think back to when you learned something well and enjoyed it in the process.
Probably even now you can still recite a poem you learned, feel a smile spread across your face when you think back to your favorite teacher, and still get excited when you remember that first time you went to a restaurant (or a market) and ordered in Spanish.
Those feelings, smiles and motivation are what kept you learning and moving forward.
And if your students find that same passion for Spanish, it can carry them through the tough spots while learning. 🙌
I know it did for me.
The good news is you too can easily build that passion within your students (more on that in a moment…).
In spite of my early attempts in and out of school to learn Spanish, I never could. Yet, for years after high school, I still wanted to learn it.
I dabbled with other languages and even various tools, yet I always felt I had to learn Spanish.
And that desire started with Mrs. Gray in middle school, Señorita Forbes in high school and my parents. The key? In their own little ways, they made Spanish fun.
Mrs. Gray introduced us to the foods of Spain, Señorita Forbes smiled, laughed, and let us be silly while learning Spanish and my parents exposed me to cultures and languages that ignited my curiosity.
So, after almost no Spanish during my college years, I went back and tried again in my mid-20s.
Good thing I had that passionate interest in Spanish that made me try one more time. In the end, I achieved fluency, in my mid-20s.
Not only was I able to learn Spanish, it completely changed my life (that’s a story for another day). Really, it’s no exaggeration. Spanish has led me along a life path I could never have imagined even after I became fluent.
Learning Spanish completely changed my life! In 2005, I presented my first book in Spanish in national TV in Puerto Rico.Keeping students engaged is a common challenge 🥵, yet must be overcome if your students are to learn Spanish.
I, more than many people, understand how your desire to share your passion for Spanish is a powerful tool to share with your students.
In my opinion, your most important job as a Spanish teacher is NOT to teach Spanish.
Your most important job is to create a fun, enjoyable atmosphere for your students around Spanish… engage them and instill your passion for the language.
Even if they don’t learn much, can’t speak at all and regularly forget words (-I know, it’s a radical idea for many teachers-) you planted that ⚡️ spark of interest that is so important to persist at Spanish.
Now here’s the most important part: By creating a positive feeling within them, I guarantee that some of your students will continue to search out Spanish years after they have left your class.
I know I did.
You may be asking how you can instill that passion.
Really, it won’t be a surprise. The key is to teach them using fun resources and tools to make class enjoyable.
It’s simple, probably obvious, yet worth focusing on every day.
One great way to make class fun for students is to reduce the overwhelm of planning lessons from scratch. When you have 100% of your lesson plans covered, you will have the bandwidth to do connect, differentiate, and teach your classes as never before.
If that sounds like something that you want to achieve, click here to get started.