I am going to chime in with #teach2teach question three which was how to overcome troubling times. Luckily, I cannot think about too many difficult times that I have had. One of my difficult times was when I was teaching in elementary school. The curriculum was very basic, and I had only been teaching for a year. I saw my students a few times a month, and each year, there were new students in a class. For example, in fourth grade, I could have students that had taken Spanish for three years, and students who had never heard any Spanish. It was a lot to figure out! I wanted students to enjoy it and learn something, but it was far away from the grammar and vocabulary structure that I had when I was teaching high school. I did not even know where to start at times.
To overcome it, I read a lot about different curriculums. I was lucky to find the Mis Cositas website that had excellent units for elementary students and great lesson plans. My second year, I found Señor Wooly who all of my students loved! (I always think it is funny that my third graders and eighth graders love the same music videos!) I also had to think about how to recycle vocabulary without being obvious. I did not want to teach colors every single year, but I could not assume that students knew the colors either. I attended NTPRS which helped me to evolve the story telling and reading aspects of my curriculum.
My last year teaching elementary school, there was an excellent exhibit of Picasso’s art work in Richmond. The whole sixth grade went. We read Mira Canion’s Agentes Secretos. I felt like my students were learning, and they were reading, too. Looking back, I wish that there had been more books like Brandon Brown and Isabela series for my elementary students. I would base my teaching in those novels- total armchair quarterbacking here though!
It is always easy to second guess yourself when you teach. As long as you know that you are trying your best and doing what you think is best, you cannot go wrong. Everyone makes mistakes- whether you teach or are an accountant. No one expects perfection, but everyone expects you to keep trying.