Tonight, barring unforeseen catastrophes, I’ll be teaching again at a college (granted last time it was as a GTF at a University teaching a credit class, this time it is as some kind of hobbyist instructor teaching a continuing education class at a community college) for the first time since the spring of 2007. (Why? Moved across the continent, had two children in addition to the three I already had, have no Master’s Degree to validate my existence, and various other little excuses…)
The Spanish conversation curriculum I’ll be using is something I developed and have taught twice before, but it was within an even more informal arrangement teaching private church groups. LOTS of fun (and they seemed to enjoy it too! :D), but after the ten weeks were up they also seemed content to move on to other things.
I want to create addicts. I want them to love Spanish, to feel like they are gaining incredibly useful tools, to see that they are acquiring keys to new worlds.
I know, I’m a word nerd. The Geek of Speak. We are few and far between. I should consider myself lucky that I get this chance to stand up in front of a group again and spread the language love.
But you know, there are a lot of ways to get people hooked. It doesn’t have to just be on the language. It could be on the camaraderie, on the entertainment value. It could simply be that people come to feel like they are actually accomplishing something, and want more.
Especially since we don’t have grades or tests, and they won’t get any “credit” on a piece of paper for having completed our class, I have to work especially hard to let them know when they’ve succeeded. I have to make it obvious that what they acquire at the end of a lesson is infinitely more valuable than receiving official approval from an institution of higher learning — when you’re face to face with another human being who happens to speak a different language, you can waggle a piece of paper at them showing that you’ve successfully completed some accredited course, but it’s much more important to be able to actually communicate.
I am obsessed. (Less necessary words were never written.) I need to just calmly prepare, then let it go. If this is the last time I ever get to teach Spanish, or anything else for that matter, let me just enjoy it, and make it the best class I can for whoever my students happen to be. It doesn’t have to turn into anything else, doesn’t have to make me the area’s go-to, beloved continuing ed instructor.
Just make tonight magic.