Week 3 Already?

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Time is flying! I can’t believe it’s already into the third week of the placement. I’m loving Belleville so far. I really like my cooperating teacher, whom I will call Camila. I could not have been placed with a better teacher. We agree on many ideas and she offers great guidance while also giving me much freedom. I’m especially grateful for the freedom. In my eyes I think we have established a great professional relationship in just a few short weeks. The principal is also very approachable and helpful. He is great at what he does and am fortunate to work under someone who cares so much for his teachers and students. In my opinion, the classes are going well, and the students are great! Even though I teach two blocks back-to-back of Spanish 1, the two classes could not be more different. My first class is smaller and the students are quieter. My second class is larger and louder, and very inquisitive.


I’ve been trying to keep my instruction in Spanish as much as possible. In order to do this, I model a lot and ask repeat myself and my questions. At first, students were very resistant. But I’m starting to see a shift in attitude. In discussion with students today, I asked if they were surprised how much they understand when they read worksheets and when they listen to me talk. They were surprised with how much they can already understand.

Now that it’s been a few weeks, I can feel like I’m finally getting into a pattern. My students are used to some “classroom constants.” Before they walk in, I have a contraseña, or password, they need to answer before they can walk into class. It stays the same all week and it applies to what we are learning about in class. I saw this at a conference in November and I loved the idea! Then they start on their warm up, which I have called a “Bubble Sheet.” There are nine bubbles, each with a different objective. Students have to talk to everyone in class and get three signatures in each bubble. They get the first five minutes of class to complete it and like the password, it resets each week and is parallel to what we talk about in class. Both strategies get students thinking and talking in Spanish right away and it also creates a good classroom environment. Then throughout the class, I try to keep activities and strategies as student-centered as possible.

These last few weeks I think I’ve learned a lot about classroom management and how to relate to my students. I’m getting better at time management. I’m getting better at lesson planning, but I still think finding resources is what takes up the majority of my time. In the classroom, I’m trying to find the balance between teacher and facilitator. With that comes how much to model and how much to leave it up to the students. I have learned a lot so far, but I know I still have a lot to learn. I am happy with where I am at, though. But while I still have a lot to figure out, there is one thing I know for certain: I love each and every one of my students for who they are and what they are going to teach me.

Talk to you soon!

Katie Olson is majoring in Spanish and secondary education at UW-Stevens Point. She is also an ESL peer mentor, student ambassador and lead recruitment intern for International Programs at UWSP.