Sunday, July 15, 2018

Absolutely the Best Gift for a Teacher

Do you know what is the absolute best gift/thing that a world language teacher can receive? if you're a teacher you probably can guess. 

What it is NOT:

- an extra personal day
- a high rating on your yearly evaluation
- a raise (although, this definitely makes all teachers smile!)
- new classroom furniture (or in my case, getting permission to r-e-m-o-v-e some of the class furnishings)
- an increase in the amount of the department budget
- no extra duties throughout the school year

None of the above can hold a candle to the best gift EVER - a note from a 
student that says how he was able to use the target language in a purposeful way outside of the classroom.

Earlier today I received a Twitter message, as described above, from a student that graduated in June 2018. He talked in Spanish with a customer at his place of employment and he was (1) excited to experience being able to successfully use his skills in an authentic conversation, and (2) looking forward to continuing his exposure and acquisition of Spanish with a future study abroad program for his music major.

He gave me permission to share this on my blog. (I forgot to ask if I could use his name, thus, no name on the letter.) The success he experienced with the language is completely due to him receiving instruction that included tons of Comprehensible Input - movie talks, TPRS, stories and legends, reading (13 class novels from levels 1-5 and many book during SSR), weekend talk, jokes in Spanish, and even in games in the target language. CI is the powerhouse and the reason for his accelerated language skills. I was the fortunate one that was able to observe his progress on his language journey for 3 of the 5 semesters he had language classes.

This is a good reminder for me to never doubt the impact of providing a daily dose of comprehensible input to students. What remains is for ALL teachers to continue to invest their time and energy (and most likely money) into continual improvement of their teaching skills to benefit our students.  😊

When I received his message, I was on my way to iFLT, in Cincinnati, Ohio, a national conference for world language teachers. His message gave me a renewed energy to squeeze out every bit of knowledge, advice, collaboration, learning, observation, etc out of this conference. It pays off in huge dividends on the student end!!!


  1. How lovely for you (and for him), Cynthia! You are a gem of a teacher. Glad to know you and become inspired by your teaching!

  2. Your former student is such a great writer that their story brought tears to my eyes. I'm also a Spanish teacher and I'm in the process of writing my thesis. Amidst all the research I'm doing, it's great to be reminded of why us Spanish teachers do what we do! I'll have to share this with my students. :)

  3. AWWWWW!!!!!! Makes your heart sing!!!!!