So, at the end of last year, I saw a need. I'm the kind of person who, for better or for worse, tries to solve problems. One problem I saw was that our language department was not working as well as it could. I knew that TPRS/CI was one solution that had the power to a) bring the overall level of the students up in the long run, b) make teachers happier, c) make our program better.
There were two Spanish positions opened and my administrators were on-board for interviewing TPRS-Friendly (or already trained) teachers, if possible. I presented a budget and plan, along with a letter to educate them about what TPRS/CI is and why it is in alignment with our school. I budgeted for training 2 full time teachers and the purchase of K-5 curriculum to supplement our 6-8 curriculum that we already own.
(Aside: our school is increasing its focus on project based learning, student centered classrooms, integrated projects, and other initiatives. This is a whole other post, however, making TPRS seem like a 21st century pedagogy (student centered, highly personalized, and not your parent's grammar class) was a really easy sell.)
We ended up having a rough time filling one of the positions (hired in late July or August) and, due to enrollment, hiring two more part-time teachers. (Yay! Enrollment!) So, with four new hires, it is now my task to help them along: using the curriculum, understanding TPRS, etc. And wow, this is a tougher job than I thought!
First, we started the year with no training of 3 of the four new teachers. (The other middle school teacher attended NTPRS16 and completed the beginner track- it was awesome to find an open minded colleague who was ready to learn!) I gave a 30 minute "What is TPRS" explanation and showed them the curriculum. And that's all they got, until last week. We brought Von Ray and TPRS Publishing in for a one-day workshop in-house for all the language teachers (and a couple of other local teachers).
Now, experienced TPRS teachers know that a one-day training is barely dipping in your toes. It's barely long enough to develop a common vocabulary, and not nearly long enough to start to shift a traditional teacher's mindset to a more CI approach. But, it's a start.
So, for all those who are trying to do the same thing, here is my letter/proposal to my admin team. Feel free to share and distribute.
And, as this journey continues and I keep learning (because I keep saying to myself and others: 3-5 year process), I will keep reflecting.