My Knees Almost Buckled Under Me

Not everyone understands that we don’t use word walls in order to teach those certain words that appear in that list. We use them as a fertile source of verbs and other parts of speech to use during class, in free writes, etc. The words in the word wall are just there, helping us or, as I like to say, being our friends and raining down on us when we need them in whatever form to help us during class.

So occasionally I review them with the class. Today I was doing a review of them, just translating each of them one by one from the list, and I stopped at one point to explain the difference between a conjugated verb and an infinitive (met vs. se mettre debout).

At that point I felt a dull thud in my psyche as those grammar terms hit the ground and went splat in front of the seventh graders, who could care less about such things, and my knees almost buckled under me when I realized that for 24 years of my life I tried to make them learn that stuff.

It hit me like a ton of bricks that for 24 years I was teaching my kids in a way that doesn’t work, that aligns with no existing research, that favors the few, and during all those years thinking how stupid most of those kids were, or something, and when I had that realization I almost felt over, in a kind of grief.

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