Hello, teacher friends. It’s a been awhile since I’ve wrote – November was a tough month for me, and it felt disingenuous to write about what I’m thankful for in the midst of so much stress at work. I also didn’t feel inspired to write about what’s been going on in my classroom, because, frankly, my lessons have been pretty uninspiring. Classroom management and behavior problems are part of the issue, but I’ve also been struggling to find a way to integrate my teaching philosophy with the more grammar-driven paradigm of my department. Most of November was a mad scramble of explicit grammar instruction and verb exercises in preparation for the midterm exam coming up next month. In December, I have two to two and a half weeks for teaching. I’m starting Realidades Chapter 3A (breakfast and lunch foods), and I also need to teach ER and IR present tense conjugations in time for the midterm. Here’s the stamp sheet I’ve come up with. I’m going to count it as a quiz grade, with each stamp being worth five or ten points. The first row is Novice-low level interpretative and presentational speaking goals. The second row is IP goals – I ask a question and they answer. The third row is a concession to my department’s grammar expectation. My goal is to contextualize the grammar better than I did in November, and to keep the English explanations and drills to a minimum. In other news, I’m running for a member-at-large position on the board of Georgia’s foreign language association, FLAG. If you’re a member of FLAG, would you vote for me? If you teach language in Georgia and aren’t a member of FLAG, please consider membership – dues are just $25 a year and, among other benefits, allow your students to participate in FLAG’s annual spoken language contest. The FLAG contest was a huge factor in me falling in love with Spanish – motivation to practice my speaking skills, one-on-one practice interviews (aka CONVERSATIONS) with my Spanish teacher, and the feeling of success that came with that big blue ribbon – I cannot recommend the contest enough! If you’re interested in finding out more about the contest, or about FLAG in general, here is the link to their website.