Trisha Schutzius

Here is Trisha’s bio:

I’m Trisha Schutzius (SHOOT-zee-us), and for the past 11 years, I’ve been teaching lots of Spanish and a little French to students in 8th to 12th grade at Heritage Christian Academy in Fort Collins, Colorado.  The school has added Latin and taken French off the program, so I have decided to leave the regular classroom to teach French to homeschoolers out of my own home, beginning in the fall of 2013.  I look forward to honing my skills to make my instruction 100 percent comprehensible to students from upper elementary to high school.

I saw Blaine Ray at a conference back in 1999 when I was living in Anchorage, Alaska.  I was in a major mid-career crisis, since I didn’t feel like I was giving my hard-working students the real-world skills they needed via traditional instruction.  I am so glad TPRS “found” me.

I’m one of the lucky ones on the blog, because I can actually go down to Denver to see Ben in person, which I did do in January.  I highly recommend watching other comprehension-based instructors to get ideas, inspiration, and much-needed support.  My visit to Ben was the perfect antidote to the mid-winter blahs!



3 thoughts on “Trisha Schutzius”

  1. Trisha,

    Thank you for your bio and good luck on your endeavor next year!

    You wrote: “I’m one of the lucky ones on the blog, because I can actually go down to Denver to see Ben in person, which I did do in January. I highly recommend watching other comprehension-based instructors to get ideas, inspiration, and much-needed support. ”

    You are indeed very lucky!

    I agree that seeing a TCI teacher live makes the difference.

    I had seen Ben’s videos before I got to see him in person both in Breckenridge and Las Vegas last summer, and I can say that live he is 1000 times better. There is some magic or alchemy that just cannot be captured in a video. Don’t get me wrong, the videos are great and I learned most everything from them, but I would highly encourage others like you said Trisha to go see other TPRS colleagues live whenever possible.

    Have a great week.

    1. Thank you Sabrina for saying that. I think that on some level the camera is really just another source of fear that freezes us up, in the sense that we all tend to freeze up under judgement.

      After all, most of us have grown up with a feeling of constantly having to strive to measure up, to be the best looking or the smartest or the most intelligent and many of us are just now trying to overcome that big illusion that we learned growing up.

      What a blessing to finally figure out, via the promises of an authentic way to teach (I don’t care what it is called as long as it is real) in our minds first and then get in our hearts that we are fine just the way we are as teachers.

      Why should we torture ourselves because we don’t think we are good enough teachers. How we torture ourselves when sometimes we believe that those naysayers in our buildings may be right!

      Why should we torture ourselves by thinking that we always have to go to another workshop to be good enough and if we just go to one more workshop we will be good enough and CI will fall into place for us and we will be like Blaine or whomever.

      That is why the cult of personality in TPRS/CI is really a dangerous thing. We can never be like Blaine. We can only be our regular old selves and that is good enough. The method has as many styles as people practicing it.

      Honestly, in describing above that desire to become adept at storytelling, I really was describing the behavior of an addict! Just one more and I will get it! But we know, Laurie in particular repeats this over and over, that this is really a never ending process.

      The real goal of which is to accept where we are with the method and accept how we are today as teachers and then grow that way, with a feeling of serene acceptance of ourselves now, as we are today as teachers. It’s the Velveteen Rabbit and a ton of other stories.

      Bob Patrick said something about how the Latin group is up against the fear, when making video, that their grammar is messed up and people will hear and see that. Apparently the Latin community is on steroids with the grammar thing.

      Bob gave this wonderful story about the Pope that I have to remember to ask his permission to publish here. Bob if you read this pls. send it to me if you agree to that. This group wants to read it. How perfection is like the one shared elitist goal of that community and you are calling them out on that.

      So the Latin Pleiade are just realizing how CI in Latin can make the language vulgar again (just showing off how I know that vulgar means common – hope I’m right).

      And in that realization comes an even more urgent need to share Latin video than we have in modern language because their experiment is truly new. It is now being spearheaded by David Maust who really deserves some credit on running point on this video thing.

      I will publish in the next few days an article with a video link that he sent me which I consider state of the art for what we need here. He explains the class, the story, the situation, what was tidy and what was messy, the whole thing.

      David doesn’t seem to fit into the description of teachers who freeze up under the video eye, like me and so many of us. Or if he does he doesn’t let it get in the way of what he sees as a much greater need than to be seen as cool.

      Anyway, sort of rambling. I don’t expect that David’s video will jump start a bunch of video submissions by the group, because most of us are still dealing with the trust issue and the things mentioned above.

      But at least we have this example of a teacher who seems to have stared down the fear of judgement by the group in favor of a higher goal, that of serving kids better in American secondary education, a goal which truly unites and describes this PLC.

      I am so glad I was able to meet John Piazza and David Maust last summer. Laurie said that that is the real benefit of conventions and I now see how true that is. Anyway, really rambling here on a Monday morning. Benefit of being half time and not having to be in until later!

      I must credit myself as well, Sabrina, thanks to what you said above. Because when I started publishing video here of my own self teaching I knew I would never get anything really good on film – how to predict when those rare great classes are going to happen?

      But I published it anyway, and now you and James Hosler and others have told me that those videos, which I felt so vulnerable publishing, have really given them insights. That is so good to hear!

      You see, I will state plainly that, although I have been mostly petrified by teaching my entire career (I think that it is just that kind of profession), I never lost sight of the fact that if I just went out and tried it again it might help others.

      I never stopped trying to help those kids, including me when I was young (I suppose teaching is the ultimate profession for reparenting oneself) and in particular those non 4%er kids sitting in grammar classrooms wondering what the hell what they were doing had to do with the great culture they knew lay behind the boring classes.

      Our work is really about service to others, isn’t it? And service to ourselves, right? Because in forgiving ourselves for not being the best teacher in the world, by grouping up here to just trust and love each other, with no expert, but lots of understanding and friendship and unspoken promises to not judge each other (if someone judges another here they are deleted, no discussion), we grow, as per:

  2. Jeffery Brickler


    What you say here is so true. Thank you for saying it. I can admit that I have fear and I deal with it every day.

    I can say too that the videos have been helping me as well.

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