Today was our last and final day at ESCELA with our Spanish teachers. It was our last day to interact with others from all over the world who were in the same boat as us. It was our last day that we were totally immersed in the Spanish language. We had switched teachers this week and we were no longer aloud to speak English in our class. This was both a positive and a negative. Pro-I felt as though I got more out of the experience. I really had to be focused and make sure that I was staying on task for the full 90 minutes, or else I would be lost. I was still lost, but the more engaged I was in the lesson, the better I felt. Con-I was LOST. Several times I caught myself staring at my professor with what I could only describe as a look of fear on my face. Fear of being called on and not knowing what she said or how to respond. I was uncomfortable and felt as if I were an outsider. The other students in the classroom had much more knowledge on the Spanish language. They were able to hold conversations with one another and with the teacher, but me? Nope.
Midway through the week my emotions caught up with me, they got the best of me. But that is the point. That is why I am here. To feel lost. To not know what is going on, to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. This experience will only make me stronger. It will make me a stronger person and a stronger teacher. I now have a better understanding just how it feels to be the new kid at school, to be the new kid in class. To be that student who doesn’t understand, who isn’t getting it, who struggles. I now know how it feels to need a different approach, to need something more, something different to better understand. These past two weeks at ESCELA I was put into my students shoes. Those students who struggle, who need more individualized instruction, who need something more to better grasp the concept. I know how they feel and I can better help them after my experience here. I learned both what to do and what not to do…smaller steps, more realia, providing examples and non-examples, and modeling. That’s what I needed this week and that’s what I plan to be sure to provide to my students.
Next week we take on elementary students. I will be teaching Spanish speaking students English. I will be able to use my experience these past two weeks at ESCELA in the classroom with the students and I couldn't be more excited and up for the challenge.