Job in New York

Carly Robinson shares:

Hi Ben!

I appreciate all the discussion that has been going on here lately, especially the recent focus on authentic assessment…

I was wondering if you would let the community know that there will be a Middle School Spanish teacher position available for next school year in my building. We aren’t a totally CI/TPRS department, I am the only one who has bought in completely, but my administrator likes what is going on in my classroom and has been empowering me to share more and more with my colleagues. She actually asked me to put some feelers out in my circles to help find someone who understands CI/TPRS. If a CI-minded person joined our team they would really have the opportunity to help build something good for the school. Experienced or newbie, I think the important thing is to bring in someone who “gets it” and is interested in exploring CI with their students and their colleagues.

Anyway, I know you are in the process of coming back to the states and getting settled in, but if you have a chance to let the community know about this position that would be great. Anyone interested can contact me directly for more information cerobinson1@gmail.com

Thank you!!

Carly

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40 thoughts on “Job in New York”

  1. Hello Carly! I’m not a Spanish teacher, but I teach Italian in Brooklyn. I have been interested for about a year now in moving to a TPRS/CI based curriculum, but have had a hard time transitioning. I am new to posting on this blog, although I’ve been following the message boards for the last few months and reading through some of the great discussions on here.
    I know that my school will not let me do inter-school visitations outside the city, but I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing some advice and possibly allowing me to come in and visit your school next year to see how you are making this work. You can e-mail me at: eileen.giarratano@gmail.com I’d appreciate any and all advice from anyone regarding the transition to TPRS. Thanks so much!

    -Eileen

    1. Hi Eileen! It’s nice to meet you 🙂 As you transition to TPRS, I would say:

      1) Let yourself be inspired to try new things. Have a back-up plan in case it doesn’t work out. My back-up plan is often dictations.

      2) My biggest mistake when I started using TPRS was teaching too many structures too quickly. My students didn’t feel like they were learning anything and it really backfired on me.

      3) Maybe try Blaine Ray’s LWCT or Carol Gaab’s Cuéntame textbook. I used Cuéntame my first year. Just get the textbook book. You don’t need student copies nor any of the ancillaries.

      4) Know that bad TPRS is better than good textbook teaching. So, whatever you do will benefit your students.

      Let us know how it goes, Eileen!

      1. Love it when you say: “Know that bad TPRS is better than good textbook teaching. So, whatever you do will benefit your students.” I needed to hear that! 🙂

    2. Eileen, I am glad to meet you, virtually of course. While I am not in New York, I just wanted to say welcome and to please ask anything you want. People here are so smart and talented and supportive. This PLC is a lifeline and a fantastic community.

      Also I wanted you to know that in the forum (links to the right) you can not only read and respond but also make a new thread to ask a question. As you read through the books Ben is sending you, questions will certainly arise. You will find lots of people willing to answer them if you post the questions to the forum, plus others who come along after you will find the discussion useful.

  2. Eileen I will send you some books in electronic format. As you read, go to the Forum here with any questions. You will get answers. Also Carly may be able to share who else is in your area, like Joe Eye and Catharina Greenberg and Carol Hill.

  3. Wow! Thank you all so much for the quick responses and warm welcome! Ben, thank you for the e-books. I just received them in my inbox and can’t wait to read them! Does anyone know if there are any teachers here using this method to teach Italian? The only Italian resource that I’ve found is Povera Anna. I would like to get my kids speaking and reading more from the start, so I’m wondering if my best bet is to buy some of the readers in other languages and translate them myself into Italian so that I can build a reading library for my students? As far as curriculum, my school has an established grammar-based curriculum, but I’m hoping to try and work around it while still incorporating as much storytelling and CI as possible. I’ve heard great things about the Matava scripts (and they are in English so I can just translate them for my classes). Would these be a good starting point for my stories? Thank you for all of your wonderful advice. I’m sure I will be coming back with lots of questions. I will try to read through the older threads first so as not to repeat too many questions which have already been asked. Ben, thank you so much for maintaining this PLC. It is a phenomenal resource and this community seems extremely supportive. Thank you all! Any feedback/resources/advice would be most welcome!

    1. Yeah, try those Matava scripts. Many of us really like them. You might also try doing some mini-stories to introduce the super-seven verbs before the Matava scripts. Try looking up “mini-stories” in the search engine of this blog.

      1. Hi Sean! Can you elaborate on the Super 7? I’ve heard people mention then a few times, but I’m not sure which verbs they are. Thanks!

    2. Eileen, this kind of question is what the forum is built for! I just replied to you over there and I hope that we can get you hooked up with Josh who is also launching into TPRS. He is interested in working with untargeted storytelling, which I think could be of great help to you in Italian, along with the Matava scripts the third volume of which I think will be available soon!

    3. Eileen, an Italian teacher shared a video of herself teaching with us. Find it under the tab at the top of this page “Resources” –> “Videos by us”. It’s the first video listed (the last video posted). I’m not sure where she teaches though.

  4. Eileen – Carly, Brigitte Kahn, Greg Stout and I used to get together in NYC for coffee. I’ll add you to the list, and will try to set up something soon. We would be glad to help you.

    I was recently at a roundtable workshop for FL teachers in NY where we swapped lesson plans, activities and such. All 149 sheets I brought home were output based. So disappointing. I am seriously thinking of presenting (for the first time) at our state FL conference next year. But who will come listen???

    You are on the right track Eileen having joined Ben’s blog.

    1. Hi Eileen and Catharina,

      I am a Spanish teacher and teach in Manhattan (living in Brooklyn) and I just joined this group today. I’ve been teaching with TPRS/CI for three years now. I started with a Blaine Ray workshop, bought a couple of Ben’s books, and have gotten a lot of help by following so many great teacher bloggers like Grant Boulanger, Martina Bex, Mike Peto, etc. I only know one other TPRS/CI teacher in NYC and would love to meet up with others. Please feel free to contact me at mccune.elizabeth@gmail.com to set something up!

      1. Hi Beth,

        You should contact Piedad Gutierrez in New Jersey! She’s amazing. If this doesn’t paste a link to her blog, come over to my blog (!) and comment so she’ll see it. Piedad Gutierrez. Hmm. I think it’s tprsofnj.com so try finding her! She offered to let me come to her classes when I was visiting my daughter in Brooklyn.

        Said daughter now lives in Manhattan, so if you ever want to meet a Spanish-speaking actress, dog walker, musician…well…probably find one on every corner. But add “lover of all things TPRS,” and you might want an acquaintance. (Rin used to tell people about TPRS when she was working as a barrista, and they would track me down. TPRS changed my life – and hers.)

        1. Thanks Michele! I will definitely look up Piedad Gutierrez. I would love to meet your daughter too. It sounds like she would be a great guest in the classroom. We have an excellent drama program at my school so it would be interesting to bring in someone with a TPRS background AND a theatre background. Hmmm…

          For that matter, if your daughter has any interest in being a paid teaching artist, my school is always looking for theaters people and musicians. It sounds like she may have the kind of schedule that makes that kind of work appealing. She can email me at mccune.elizabeth@gmail.com if she is interesting in discussing a visit or even possibly a job!

      1. I did it! Sent my proposal to NECTFL and FLENJ. I called it “You must start somewhere!” That’s what my supportive and understanding Head of School told me when I first started teaching, and I had no clue. The focus will be on teaching Little Kids with Comprehensible Input. My 500 word “blurb” was spontaneous, unedited. Like me. We’ll see…

        Our little NY group is getting together June 29 in Brooklyn. So glad to meet Eileen, and Beth in person.

        1. You have so much wealth to share, Catharina! I’m sure people who have an open mind will turn their ear.

        2. So cool that the Brooklyn / NYC contingent will gather “in real life!” I was in Brooklyn a couple weeks ago, but a seriously whirlwind (24hrs). Next time I will be sure to contact y’all 😀

          Welcome Beth and Eileen!

  5. Hey Sean I think he went into some other field than teaching but is still using his French in it. What a fantastic few years he had though in teaching. What a story!

    1. A tragic story for the kids he taught. I remember his department head so upset because all his students were loving the class and getting good grades.

      His story puts your recent comments about how we have to come to grips with being marginalized by the egomaniacs in our schools; that being marginalized is part of the sacrifice we must make in order to make a stand.

      1. I think Greg is studying piano at Julliard. Multi-talendent guy. If we get together in NYC, I’ll give you an update. He will be touched that his name still comes up on the blog.

        Eileen and Beth, how nice to know that we are not alone. Brigitte Kahn ( German TPRS teacher in Long Island ) usually takes her students to Austria end of June, so maybe we can plan for early July?

  6. Beth welcome! I think you will find some really fine people to network with there. And don’t forget to sign up for the Forum, which is not real active right now but come August should be crackling with good stuff to compliment what is going on over on this side of the PLC.

    1. Thanks for the warm welcome Ben! I am so happy to have found this community. So many helpful, genuine, like-minded people on a mission to improve language learning. Is it weird that I feel like this is my version of church?

  7. Beth I believe that the hearts of many teachers here in this community wish intently to serve suffering children by opening up the heart quality (church) in our classrooms and thereby help drive some of the suffering away through humor and fun.

    Are children not suffering enough in schools that we would then need to add to that by teaching them in a way that alienates them and closes their hearts and scratches at their minds? It is time for that kind of teaching to end. We want to reach our kids at the level of the sacred heart (church). Maybe that explains it.

    Storytelling lifts the hearts of children and teachers and parents and administrators. Storytelling takes kids out of the darkness of mind and judgement and analysis and being wrong and takes them into the light of heart and shared success and not being judged, just enjoying.

    1. I love your unabashed praise to a higher presence, Ben. We find ourselves routinely pausing on this blog to give praise as we find ourselves overcome by the power and joy of this approach to teaching.

      I’m so glad that you reconnect us to the spirituality of this work. So glad that you highlight how, as you way, “we want to reach our kids at the level of the sacred heart.”

      We can turn the souls of our children through the worship that is our teaching. Knowing this inspires me to work through the marginalization we face in our schools, the fatigue we feel at the end of a long Monday, and the antipathy often expressed by our students.

      We would be gravely remiss not to give praise. I do so not only to bring joy to my day but, in all sincerity, to avoid mental collapse. And if you’ve been teaching for awhile and haven’t witnessed a peer go through a mental collapse, I’d say hold onto that job as long as you can. It must be a uniquely joyful place.

      1. …we would be gravely remiss not to give praise….

        Thank you for saying that, Sean. When we have a good story going, we have a rare chance to really uncover some of the joys of life and in a most unexpected place – a school building! The old way of teaching takes us down the rabbit hole of mental gymnastics, limiting our capacity to feel joy because our work is all stuck in the mind.

        But when we do stories, there is no rabbit hole at all, but rather a rocket ship to unexpected (if we allow them) happenings that reflect the pristine beauty of our students’ hearts and their seemingly unlimited imaginations.

        I certainly don’t know anything about religion, but Beth’s courageous use of the word church perhaps allows us to define our work more and more now, as get freer and freer to express how we really feel about this work,without being labeled as some kind of fanatic.

        Yes, I unabashedly praise what I consider to be the Divine in my classes and as you say Sean could not have made it through the past four decades without that Sustaining Hand on the steering wheel or handle bars taking me in once more to teach another of the 34,000 classes that I taught in my life.

        Before, and not so long ago, we couldn’t openly praise life in our classes via this work. It was suspect. It was weird. The kids were too happy. The building didn’t allow it. Some narrowed eyes would be watching from down the hall as our kids poured out of our classes laughing and sharing their takeaways with each other after a great story. We got judged by the old-style teachers who fortunately no longer hold the gavel since we seem to have swiftly knocked it from their hands in recent years.

        How did we knock the gavel from their hands? Just by going to work every day with trust in the process of storytelling, along with a hope of finding a few moments in our story to celebrate God’s wonder, and most of all with faith in the over-abiding Love that sustains us in our every day lives and reminds us, often against all hope and reason, that we in fact ARE in the right profession, and that nothing in the world can take us down, because we have found a way to teach languages that actually works.

        It was important that you said that Sean. You are a champion there in Chicago and if you ever found time to speak with Diana Noonan about what you do there in the urban scene in that City of Shootings, you would find that she as well is all about working with kids of poverty, because we cannot divorce this discussion about finding hope within hopelessness within our darkened and sad buildings without mentioning the poverty piece and the role that stories can play, with gusto, in it.

        Yes, storytelling reaches all kids, but kids of privilege will succeed anyway, because they have been favored in their training to be able to do the mental gymnastics piece that the traditional teachers rely so heavily on for their paychecks.

        God bless all those kids of privilege, but in my view this reform we bring is especially about bringing hope to the downtrodden. (And in a sense all children are downtrodden, because we as educators have given them a competitive and not inclusive model so that even those kids who succeed in our schools end up losing because they think that life is about domination of others).

        And there again I would unabashedly suggest that this work we do is a function of the work of God in this world, whose work with the poor and oppressed cannot be tossed off anymore, so that an entirely new concept of what teaching even is and what being in a classroom even means can grow in our schools, one based, to use the phrase from above, in sacred heart and in service to all, so that all kids can have a chance to be happy when growing up. How many of us have heard from a kid in the past month that ours was the only class that they really enjoyed, could be themselves in? That is no small statement!

        Wow, that turned into a rant! I haven’t done that in many months! Hey, no apologies. Will you be in TN Sean? I need a good hug from my tall Chicago fighting mate.

        1. …as our kids poured out of our classes laughing and sharing their takeaways with each other after a great story….

          Let’s be clear again on what those takeaways are:

          1. events in the story
          2. the acting of their classmates
          3. the funny twists in the story that they created
          4. the work of the artists
          5. the easy quiz so that they felt that this class is one that they can succeed in

          Let us also be clear about what those takeaways are NOT:

          1. memorization of words
          2. worksheets
          3. thinking about the language
          4. thinking about the grammar

          I am just pointing this out for new people who may still be trying to wrap their minds around the magnitude of this change. The fact is that after a successful story the children have little to no awareness of having even been in a language class. That is the nature of language. Language is merely a device, a delivery system, that is used to convey messages but is not actually itself noticed when the message is delivered.

          Where did the language go then? It went into the same place that the words that you are currently reading go – into the unconscious mind, where a far more complex process occurs during sleep after the story of that day, which is where the language is actually ACQUIRED. This is Krashen 101 but it bears repeating here.

          When children walk out of our classrooms all excited about the story, a passerby might ask them if they learned anything in that class that day and they might say no! That is what we want. That is how we get them to where they start “magically” speaking so soon. They speak so soon and so well because the process we put into place with stories is FAR SUPERIOR to the weak and proven failure of giving them a book and telling them to think about the words.

          A child learns a language because she wants to. It has nothing to do with thinking.

        2. I’m afraid I’m not going to any of the conferences this summer, Ben. Rather, I’m spending time with the wife and kid. Candice (my wife) is getting much needed rest after two years of starting her first job teaching, getting a masters degree, and having a baby!

          I would love to have gone to your workshop in Peotone, IL, come Aug 1, but we will be in Paris (don’t hate :)). I forwarded the workshop info on to our TCI Chicagoland group, which includes some 50 emails. I hope you get a good showing.

          Just by going to work every day with trust in the process of storytelling, along with a hope of finding a few moments in our story to celebrate God’s wonder, and most of all with faith in the over-abiding Love that sustains us in our every day lives

          Thanks for the rant. Summertime is a special time of year for us to rejuvenate. Reflecting on the greater good that we are doing that extends beyond our local classrooms and schools is just the right kind of rejuvenating meditation I need during the summer. By carrying this strong sense of trust in process (we trust the process because we’ve studied, experimented, failed, experienced, lived, succeeded; because we are professional teachers) and this faith in Love, as you say, with us into the classroom everyday we serve our children in ways lesson planning does not.

          It took me several months this past year to find this sense of trust and faith in teaching my heritage classes. Much of this was a personal struggle with feeling inadequate in my language proficiency to be teaching heritage classes. My conversational proficiency isn’t as high as many of my students, but I realized that I still have lots to offer in reading and writing instruction. Most of all, I have the communication skills to facilitate a discussion. It was an interesting realization for me, mid-year, coming to realize how even with a significantly lower conversational proficiency level than many of the students in the class I could facilitate a powerful discussion so long as I interjected with right amount and flavor of responses and questions.

          I mention this experience in my heritage classes, in part, because I started a topic under “General Discussion” on the forum titled “Spanish heritage classes.” I really should have created this subtopic on the forum months ago as I was in the thick of teaching. Anyways, I would L.O.V.E. to get any input or feedback there from teachers also teaching or once taught heritage classes.

          … Thanks for the love, Ben. It is felt through your written words and reciprocated (though reciprocated sounds like the word choice of a robot :0).

  8. I was away from the blog for a bit and came back to find such an interesting thread! This community is amazing. I am about an hour away from meeting the NYC teachers for a drink, but I wanted to write a quick update regarding the position at my school in Bushwick, Brooklyn….we are now also looking for French teacher! I would love love love love love love to teach French along side a TPRS/CI teacher and hope someone from this community! Shoot me an email if you are interested or have any leads on someone who might be! cerobinson1@gmail.com

  9. Carly has been -so far- the only TCI teacher in her school, and because of her success and great talent, the Head of School wants to hire 2 more TCI teachers! Wow.

    Carly, Beth, Claudia, and myself got together in NYC yesterday. A very cool beer garden, inner court yard, laid-back Brooklyn. We decided on a monthly, or so, gathering for NYC-northern NJ teachers to coach each other. We’d follow Anny Ewing and Carol Hill’s model (Tri-state TPRS) in the Philadelphia region.

    There are a fair amount of TPRS pioneers in the NY area, and if we join forces we might be able to do even better work.

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