Am I the only one out there whose 1st years aren’t writing yet? I did a 10 minute freewrite with them a few days ago and about half of them only wrote 10-20 words in 10 minutes. Some of them, the really motivated ones, were able to write more than that by attempting to rewrite one of our class created stories. However, most of them were not able to write much. At first, I felt discouraged. I had previously looked on Facebook at all the posts of people who have done their first freewrites with their students, and I looked at the amazing work they had produced. I had hoped that my students would be capable of the same. When they weren’t, I thought, “What am I doing wrong? Is there something those teachers are doing that I am not?”
But then I remembered that we are only 8 weeks into the school year. That means that my students have only heard/read Spanish for 30 hours. Thirty. Less than the hours of one workweek have they heard Spanish. Thirty hours is a very small amount of time compared to the other ways my students spend their time. In reality, thirty hours is not enough input to make a student ready to produce. I believe that after that small amount of time, it was unfair of me to expect much writing of MY students.
I suppose what I learned through this revelation is that while we can learn so much from each other, we cannot compare one classroom to another, one teacher to another, one student body to another. Each student is different, each teacher is different, and each classroom is different. I know that CI works. I know that non-targeted works. I know that stories work. I just have to be patient, and one day soon, I know my students will produce. How about you? Are you feeling discouraged this time of year with your students’ comprehension and/or production?
I pretty much feel discouraged all the time. I mean, I feel elated AND discouraged all at the same time. Mostly I am elated that they can create with the language. And then discouraged that they are going into a system that will not see their greatness for what it is, because they are not textbook-taught accuracy-monsters!
Me too! This is definitely a roller coaster ride of emotions. But I know that it is the best choice for my students, and that keeps me going in the low moments. Where my students will go with the language after they leave me can be a depressing thought. We can only hope that we have instilled enough joy and love of the language that it won’t all be stamped out by a different type of classroom!
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