Dr. Baros is a dedicated researcher, educator, and LGBTQ advocate. Her areas of expertise are proficiency-based language teaching and creating inclusive environments for LGBTQ students and people.
I've been a little MIA this year. It's been ten months (and an entire school year) since my last post. I sum, the last two years, and last year specifically, have been pretty rough in terms of both balancing responsibilities (looking at you, PHD program!) as well as trying to prioritize Comprehensible Input in my classroom. To be honest, due to district and administrative demands, Comprehensible Input instruction fell by the wayside as I felt my concerns were met with deaf ears and I tried to align my course with a very grammar- and vocabulary-based curriculum. To be completely honest, I felt very depressed for some time and couldn't even engage with the Comprehensible Input community (much less my own website and resources) without feeling frustration and sadness about my situation.
So, for all of those that have been there, I hear you. It's not as simple as just trying to do what's best for kids when it's at odds with external demands.
Two years ago and with my previous district, I had the privilege of completing my administrative internship with a world-class educational leader. Among the many words of wisdom she shared with me were these: Do your best to meet the expectations of your administrators while still advocating for things that should be changed or improved. If you've done that, though, and it becomes a situation that you cannot be happy in, smile and do your best, get a good letter of recommendation, and then move on.
I can say I did the best I could with the knowledge and skills at the time, although I also learned a LOT. There are many things I would do again. I think there are more things I would do differently if I had to do it all over again. Ultimately, leaving this district was a mutual decision. Of course, while difficult, I took many valuable experiences from these past two years that will influence my own approaches and perspectives.
The good news is, a relatively nearby district was looking for exactly everything that my previous district and I separated over! While the month in between determining that a parting of ways would be best with my previous district and getting the job offer in my new district was one of the most difficult and stressful in my life, I am SO excited to be joining my new district. The department chair is very experienced in TPRS and while the department as a whole isn't as experienced with CI/TPRS, they are on board for the boat travelling in that direction. One major step? They haven't used a textbook in years. They also sent me and two of my World Language co-workers to Comprehensible Cascadia a few weeks ago - talk about putting your money where your mouth is!
So, all that said, I am BACK! And Comprehensible Cascadia has re-energized me for teaching (and in JUNE, no less!). I am excited to be collaborating with my CI colleagues once again and cannot wait to share my experiences and resources with all of you throughout the year. Here we come 2018-2019!
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