Sunday, December 9, 2018

Simplifying and streamlining homework processes

One of the things that I really struggled with last year was keeping up with student homework, and more particularly, with grading homework that was turned in late. This is the first time I've had to wrestle with this, because at the college level I did not accept late homework since I had all assignments listed in the course syllabus on the first day of the semester. (I dropped the lowest few assignments from each category to allow for people being sick or forgetful.) Last year I tried to stagger due dates, but it felt like all I did was keep up with who was missing what, and I spent hours each week filling out slips telling students that they were missing assignments, and then going back and checking to see if they completed the assignments later (most of my assignments are online, and I don't get notifications for completed assignments).

This year I realized I couldn't continue to maintain that workload, so I tweaked a few things to make my life a little easier. The first thing I did was make all homework due on Fridays. That's easier for me, because I can go through once a week and put in grades, and it's easier for my students, because there's never confusion about when things are due. Everything is always due on Friday. Another thing I did was to stop giving out missing homework slips. I teach 9-12 Spanish, and at this age, they are capable of going into PowerSchool and seeing that they're missing homework, especially since I'm putting grades in right away every week. If they dip down into the D-F range, I have them stay after school to do missing homework (part of my school's policy). Other than that, I remind them to check PowerSchool and submit missing assignments, but I'm not taking on the responsibility of telling them multiple times that they're missing things. Probably the best thing I did was to start having students email me when they complete assignments that are late. Most of our assignments are online, and I don't get notifications when things are submitted. Last year I spent hours going through late assignments checking to see if people had submitted, but this year, I put the burden on students. If they submit assignments on time, I will put their grades in and they don't need to notify me about submitting things, but if they submit late, they need to email me so that I know that they've submitted something that needs grading. I tell them that I will not go back through assignments to check for stragglers, so it's the students' responsibility to tell me when they've submitted something. I also make it a requirement that they email me rather than just telling me in class, because otherwise I'll have 20 students tell me that they've submitted 10 different assignments, and then I still have to go through all of the assignments to find who's turned in what because I won't remember who completed what when I have a chance to sit down and go over late homework. The last thing I started doing this year is putting in 0s immediately when I enter homework grades. Last year and at the beginning of this year, I marked things as missing and/or late, but I wasn't putting in 0s. The result was that students didn't turn in missing assignments, because most of them only respond to a drop in their grade. It has saved me a lot of time to put in 0s immediately, and it lets students know immediately that they're missing something in a way that they actually notice. It has resulted in much faster completion of missing assignments, and shows students immediately what happens to their grade when they don't turn things in.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Using Google Drawings to make virtual altars for Día de Muertos

I've been pondering how to have my students make a virtual altar for a loved one or famous person as a part of my mini-unit on Day of the Dead this week, but I wasn't coming up with any satisfactory solutions. There are a few websites that let you build virtual altars, but you can't customize the objects, so they're pretty generic and not really a reflection of any specific person (but they look pretty cool).

I thought about using a virtual bulletin board like Padlet, but I'd either have to create a bulletin board for each student (105 bulletin boards, which would be tedious and require me to upgrade to the paid plan) or I'd have to have students create individual accounts with Padlet. I'm trying to be judicious in the number of accounts I ask students to create, because if every teacher is asking them to create 5 accounts with various websites or apps, that's a lot of usernames and passwords to remember. So I didn't want to do that.

I thought about just letting them choose their own medium because I was having trouble coming up with something, and then I remembered Google Drawings. If your school uses Google Classroom, this is a particularly great option because you can create a blank document or a template and assign it to your students. Google Classroom allows you the option to make a copy for each student, and then voilà! Each student has their own copy that they can use to create a virtual altar. In our case, it's going to look more like a virtual bulletin board unless my students want to make it look more like an altar, but the basic idea is the same. Here's the model I made for my grandma, who passed away in 2015:

Friday, October 26, 2018

When stomach pain makes you thankful

I started having stomach pain in the fall of 2008, at the beginning of my second year on the tenure track. I remember clearly when it started, because I was attending a linguistics conference in Austin, TX. My stomach hurt the entire time I was there and I thought I was getting the stomach flu, but I never vomited. At first it wasn't too bad, but over the course of a few years it slowly got worse until at some point my stomach hurt pretty much all the time every day. At some point I went to the doctor and she put me on an acid reducer, but it didn't help, and my stomach pain kept getting worse. It finally got to a point where it was unbearable and I asked to have tests done to figure out what was wrong. In the end, it wasn't anything serious; a stomach scope showed that I had a hiatal hernia, which was causing acid reflux, and once they upped the dosage to 40 mg of omeprazole, I could function again. On my doctor's advice, I repeatedly tried to reduce my dosage, but every time I dropped down to 20 mg my stomach pain came back. I switched to a safer med category in 2013-2014 when I was pregnant and breastfeeding, but I still needed to be on it. I finally started tapering down successfully in 2015, and eventually was able to stop taking it altogether without having stomach pain. In retrospect it's clear that stress from being on the tenure track was responsible for the stomach acid, and as I started to recover from being in a job I hated, my stomach started recovering. Surprisingly, a year of being unemployed was apparently less stressful to my stomach than being on the tenure track, and I did not have to go back on the acid reducer in 2016. 

So this past week I was having the same kind of stomach pain intermittently during the day on Tuesday, and it kept getting worse through the evening. I had just been celebrating that although my job is demanding, I enjoy it and feel like it's a better match for my interests, so I haven't been experiencing all of the adverse health problems resulting from stress that I experienced while I was on the tenure track. When my stomach pain hit on Tuesday, I didn't think anything of it at first, but as it kept getting worse, I remembered when my stomach pain started 10 years ago, and I started thinking about what I would do next. I love my job, but one thing I've learned over the last decade is that if my body is telling me that my job is too stressful, I need to listen and make some changes. I took Tums before I went to bed and hoped that my stomach would feel better the next day, but I woke up at 2 and my stomach still hurt, so I took more Tums and went back to bed. At 3, I woke up again and finally realized that the stomach pain was the stomach flu, which is why the Tums before bedtime didn't help. (It also explains why I was tired enough to go bed at 9:00, which should have been my first clue that I was getting sick, not having indigestion.) I hate having the stomach flu because I hate vomiting, and now that I'm middle aged, I hate it more because my abs are sore the next day from vomiting and my back hurts from lying in bed all day. But this week I was relieved and grateful that it was only the stomach flu and not the beginning of another bout with stomach acid, and was happy to realize that I would be back to normal in about 48 hours. 

Moral of the story: Listen to your body. I kept trying to make adjustments, always thinking that at some point I'd somehow figure out the secret and be happy with my job. I thought this even though I was having debilitating stomach pain and had to go on 40 mg of omeprazole in my early 30s, and even though I kept having recurring bouts of depression that got progressively worse each time they hit. It's been hard to transition out of academia because I spent so much time pursuing that goal that I just kept trying to make it fit because I didn't want to feel that I'd wasted so many years in grad school and on the tenure track, and as my mom says, my mama didn't raise no quitter. So I'm not where I imagined I would be in my 40s, but that's turning out to be the best thing for me.

(Silver lining to the stomach flu: I ate whatever I wanted today and I'm still several pounds below my regular current weight. :D) 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Time hack for Google forms

I use Google forms every day, and frequently use more than one Google form per day. They're great for doing quick vocab checks, listening comprehension, reading comprehension, dictation, and lots more stuff. I like them because they provide immediate feedback to students, and it gives me a way to monitor their progress without spending hours grading. I only use them for formative assessments, so I'm not recording grades from them, but I do use the forms to assess participation, as a way to make sure that students are doing what they're supposed to be doing during class time.

This will super obvious to many people, but it took me a year to realize that my current method of checking Google forms wasn't sustainable for me in terms of time. I had the forms set to collect email addresses, but then when I went back to check for completion/comprehension, the forms were
listed in order of submission, and there's no way to change that. So it took me a ton of time every week to go through my Google forms because submissions weren't in any coherent order. But there is a very quick work-around.  I started adding two questions to my Google forms this year:

1.  What class are you in? (with a dropdown list of all of my classes)
2.  What is your last name?

Then I can go to the response tab in the Google form, click on the spreadsheet link to make it into a spreadsheet, and then go to "Data" and select "Sort range."  I select the "header row" option, and then tell it to sort by what class students are in, and then I add students' last names as a second criterion for sorting. Et voila! All of my Google forms are now sorted alphabetically by students' last names and class periods, so it just takes a few minutes to go through and check for completion.  (Also this year I have an amazing TA who's checking my Google forms for me, which I am ridiculously excited about!)

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Infographics for reading comprehension

One of the struggles with working on reading comprehension with authentic resources for low-proficiency language learners is that a lot of stuff is just too text-heavy to be a really good reading comprehension activity...if you have to gloss most of the words for students to understand it, it's not really helping them learn to read in the target language.

One of my particular challenges this past year has been creating my own curriculum and materials for Spanish 1, Spanish 2, and Spanish 3/4 with 55 minutes of plan time every day. (Hint: This is not possible. I get to school before 6:30 every morning and usually leave after 5, and worked both Saturdays and Sundays most weekends last year.) This meant I had to work very quickly, and couldn't spend a lot of time scaffolding more complex reading assignments, but I still wanted to get students reading at least a little bit in Spanish. Enter the marvelous infographic.

I'm a big fan of pictoline (@pictoline) because I appreciate the artist's sense of humor, but the infographics are also great to use for teaching. They're created for native speakers of the target language, and since they're designed to be interesting, they tend to engage students more than other types of reading assignments. The use of visuals helps students figure out meaning from context, and the limited use of text keeps the reading from being overwhelming. During a food unit last year in Spanish 1, for example, I had students read this infographic about food coma. They were able to deduce that "mal del puerco" (translated literally: "evil of the pig" or "curse of the pig") meant "food coma" without looking it up.

To keep it simple, I put questions in a Google form, and I always have at least one question asking students to guess at the meaning of a word or phrase from context. Students get immediate feedback and can see how much they understood as soon as they submit the form, and I can see pretty quickly how much people understood (though the ability to do a question-by-question view would be really helpful, Google).  I don't take grades for them since we're working on building our reading comprehension skills, but I do check the Google forms to see how much they understood (and to make sure that they were staying on task...I use the form completion as part of my participation grading criteria).

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Weekly questions: A quick way to build oral proficiency

Part way through the year last year, I realized that a number of students were having trouble answering basic questions that we'd gone over in class. When I started thinking about it, I realized that they were able to answer the question when we went over it, but that we didn't really have enough practice with it for them to be able to answer it a week later (or even a day later in some cases). I really feel like I should have thought of this years ago, but I decided to start doing a weekly question, where I ask students a different question each week, and I ask them the same question each day of a given week. I go around the classroom and talk to every student every day. This has a couple of benefits. First, I talk to every student every day, so there's never a day that I haven't had contact with a student. Second, students get enough reps with the questions to understand them and be able to answer appropriately. This year, I've added an element of accountability by taking a grade at the end of the week.

In the course I taught at the community college over the summer, I did a variation of this. We only had class two nights per week and the class moved really quickly, so a weekly question didn't really fit with the schedule, but I made a list of essential questions that students needed to be able to answer in Spanish. The book for the course was very grammar-focused, so having the list of essential questions helped point the focus back to learning Spanish to communicate. 

My weekly questions vary based on content. In Spanish 1 this week, our weekly question is ¿Cómo se escribe tu nombre? In Spanish 2, it's ¿Qué clases tomas?, and in Spanish 3/4 it's ¿Qué haces en un día típico? (and I clarify that I want them to name 3 things). Students sit in groups of 3-4 and ask and answer the question in their groups while I go around and talk to everyone. It does result in a few minutes of down time for larger classes since it takes me a little while to get around the class, but it's worth it to me to have that interaction with every student every day.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Advice for coaches from a non-athlete

Today I was thinking about a conversation that I had earlier this year about students picking classes. I'm at a small school, which means that students may run into schedule conflicts, especially for music classes like band and choir because they're only offered during one period. While I really want my students to keep taking Spanish, when push comes to shove, if they have to choose between band and Spanish or choir and Spanish, I want them to take band and/or choir. The reality is that they will have plenty of opportunities to take Spanish if they want to in the future, but playing and singing in ensembles is a lot harder to do once you're not in high school (auditions, time commitments, etc.). 

Meandering on to my main point...Once upon a time, I went out for sports. I had played soccer as a kid and basketball when I was in junior high because I went to a tiny Lutheran school and everyone played a sport. I was always terrible, but I enjoyed it. I didn't go out for anything in high school because I knew I was terrible, and I spent my time doing things I enjoyed more, like band and choir. But my sophomore year, someone started a league soccer team, and I went out for it because I had enjoyed playing as a kid (despite falling and getting a concussion, because did I mention I was terrible?). We were awful and we lost most or all of our games, but I had fun playing. The next year, my high school added girls soccer, so the league team went away, and I decided to go out for it because I had enjoyed playing the year before. So my junior year I went out for a team sport. I was still terrible, but I enjoyed practicing, and started running so that I was in better shape to play. I think I played maybe 3 minutes the entire season, but I was still planning on going out the next year because I enjoyed it and it was good exercise. Until my band concert. The night of the spring band concert, I asked if I could leave practice early, because I was first chair and wanted to have a little extra practice time since I had a few solos that night. I don't remember any more how long practice went, or what time I had asked to leave, but I had apparently asked to leave 30 minutes earlier than two other girls who were on the team and who were also in band. So my coach told me that these other girls were leaving at 6 (or whenever), so I didn't need to leave before then. Here's the thing, though. The other two girls were starters on the soccer team and played most of every game.  They were not first chairs in band.  If it were me now, I would have respectfully pointed out that I was first chair in band and a bench warmer on the soccer team,  and she really didn't need me to be there for those 30 minutes so that I could sit on the bench for every game for the entire season. But I wasn't savvy enough to advocate for myself, so I didn't argue. I just didn't go out for soccer the next year. Obviously it wasn't a great loss for the team, because have I mentioned yet that I was terrible? But I did bring some things to the team. I was a team player. I cheered for my teammates the entire game. If my teammates needed gloves or an ear warmer, I let them use mine. I got a team spirit award at the end of the season for being a team player. Can I just tell you that I did not care about that award? I wanted 30 minutes of extra practice time for the thing that I was actually good at. 30 minutes out of the entire season. 

My coach never asked why I wasn't going out for soccer the next year. She probably figured it was because I didn't get to play, and let's be honest: I was terrible, so it's not like it was a devastating blow to the team. But I do think the team lost someone who embodied what a team player looks like, and I missed out on being part of the team and doing something that I enjoyed. I'm not sorry that I decided not to go out for soccer again, because I made a decision that was based on my priorities. But it didn't have to be either/or. I could have done both, if my coach had understood that band, an actual class and something I was good at, was more important to me than an extracurricular where I was a bench warmer.

Anyway. My advice (which is kind of boring and basic after that long story, but here it is finally): I know there have to be some firm team rules to maintain standards and not play favorites. But don't apply a blanket rule to everyone on non-essentials. Consider the individual circumstances of the different players on your team. While a blanket rule may seem to be the fairest thing to do, do you really need to keep a bench warmer at practice for an extra 30 minutes if it means that she's not going to have any time to practice before her band concert, where she's first chair? 

Obviously, this advice is also applicable to teachers, and other people who work with humans. It's hard when it's your subject, or your sport, or your whatever, and not everyone loves it as much as you do (my experience every time I teach linguistics, which I looooooove, but which most students don't care for). But especially if you're a teacher or a coach, it's important to look at the whole person. Where does your student shine? What does he or she love to do? Especially now, when there's a push for students to only do things they're good at, such as specialize in sports, etc., it's even more important for students to do things that they're not great at. But if we insist that our top thing has to be their top thing, too, we're closing doors that don't need to be closed.

And now for my thoughts on the World Cup (I think that's what's going on right now, anyway): I do not know or care who is playing, but I have been enjoying the Neymar memes.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Review sites: Another marketing ploy

A few weeks ago, I received an unsolicited email from Elizabeth Reynolds (; not her real name, I'm sure) complimenting me on a blog post and asking me to add a link to their site. Note that once again, the topic has nothing to do with my blog's focus (language teaching and learning, though my most popular posts are the ones dealing with marketing ploys like this one). 

This site is at least more up-front about its source of revenue:

In fairness, a lot of websites make money this way (using affiliate links), so it's not as deceptive as other sites that pass themselves off as third-party sites with no profit motive dedicated to helping people. (Please note that I do not use affiliate links, and I do not have any ads on my blog. All opinions are my own, and I receive no payment from anyone for my opinions on different educational resources. Mostly because I am happy to give my opinions for free, whether asked for or unasked for. 😁)

Here are a few things that make me skeptical about this site:

1. As with all of the other sites that have contacted me, there is no information about who runs the site.  In fact, the site mentions that there are no bylines. From the site's About page:
"Our reviews sit squarely on the shoulders of our entire editorial team. The picks we make for the best are collectively ours, not the individual opinion of a single writer."

2.   There is conflicting information about when the site started and where it's located.  The site itself says it was founded in 2013 and is located in Fort Mill, SC. However, the email I received and the site's Twitter page indicate that it is located in Seattle, WA (and that its Twitter account started in 2007).

3. As with other sites, whoever designed the site has tried to make it look like a "real" business site, so there's a sidebar ad indicating that they are hiring. However, when you click the link, it pulls a page with values, but no job listings. Now, this does happen when there are no job listings, but usually there are two other things that also happen. First, the company does not have a sidebar ad announcing that they are hiring, and second, when you try to browse list of jobs, you'll usually receive a message saying that there are no positions available at the moment.

While having affiliate links doesn't automatically mean that a site's content isn't trustworthy, it's worth investigating who is running the site and why. Many bloggers use affiliate links because it allows them to make money doing what they love (writing about whatever topic they care about, such as education, food, or lifestyle).

So how can you tell if you can trust a recommendation from a site that uses affiliate links? Here are my recommendations: 

1. There should be a name attached to the site. You should be able to verify from an independent source that the person actually exists. Ideally, it's someone who has been around for a while who is a trusted and respected voice in the blogging community.

2. It should always be crystal clear which product recommendations are affiliate links. If the site doesn't disclose which recommendations are affiliate links, it's not a credible source of information. If it does disclose which recommendations are affiliate links, and those make up the majority of the site content, it's a dubious source of information. 

The bottom line is: Always remember that 
anyone can publish anything on the internet.
Some of it looks extremely credible, so even major news organizations have been fooled into publishing content from for-profit entities masquerading as disinterested third-party reviewers (see the following stories about Drew Cloud, a supposed student loan expert, but actually a made-up person used as a tool of the student loan industry:, 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Reflection on my first year of teaching high school & attracting WL teachers to the profession

Technically we still have 12 more days of school (not that anyone is counting or anything), but since I've finished my own schoolwork for the semester, I feel like I have more free time, since now I only need to plan lessons and grade on the weekends instead of doing homework, planning lessons, and grading. Anyway.

Teaching high school or college?
A number of students have asked me if I like teaching high school or college better, and my student teacher supervisor asked me if I wanted to get back into higher ed. My answers: high school, and a very emphatic 'no.' If you'd have told me 10 years ago that I would feel this way, I would have asked you if I had suffered some kind of brain injury. But it's true; I'm finding that I actually enjoy it more, despite the fact that it is much harder, for the following reasons:

  1. Time with the kids. I thought this might go the other way because I'm so introverted, so I was a little nervous about a job that required me to be around people so much. It is very exhausting, and I've had to work to carve out quiet time to myself so that I can function like a semi-normal human, but that extra time has meant that I can build relationships and get to know my students. This happened occasionally at the higher ed level with upper-level undergrads and grad students who took more than one class with me, but that was the exception rather than the rule. The additional time means that I know my students better and have more patience and empathy, but it also means that they know me better and know that I care about them. As a socially awkward introvert, it really takes time for me to feel comfortable with people, and at this level, I have the time I need to make connections. This makes my job feel meaningful to me, which is one of my top priorities (after salary, insurance, and retirement benefits, because I'm a pragmatist).
  2. Curricular control. I know this wouldn't happen at every school, but I'm the only Spanish teacher at my school, which means I run the program like I want. I used to think I wanted to be a language program director, because I love working on curriculum and activities. But a language program director needs to be able to manage people, and while I think I could do OK for a while, it would make me miserable and I would hate it. (And I would REALLY hate it for language program director pay, which is typically less than assistant professor pay because many LPDs aren't on the tenure you're running a program, supervising people, and using lots of administrative skills that are supposed to be well-compensated, but you're making less money than, say, a public school teacher.) All that is to say that my current job is an excellent match for my personality, because I get to run a language program without having to manage people. 
  3. Regular schedule. I always enjoyed having schedule flexibility in higher ed, and I especially enjoyed not having to be awake before 8 AM. So I was not crazy about having a rigid schedule and needing to wake up at 6:30 every morning. I am still not a morning person, so it's been an adjustment. But having a more regular schedule has been really good for my mental health. I am actually awake for most of the daylight hours, so I get more sunlight, and I'm not awake until 2 or 3 in the morning. I actually wake up at 5 AM every morning because I learned that my brain did not want to do anything else after I'd spent all day with 100 people, and it was taking me 3-4 hours every night to make my materials for the next day because my brain was mostly done for the day. So I started waking up at 5 and getting to school at 6:15-6:30, and I've discovered that I really enjoy the quiet work time in the morning while my brain is still fresh.
  4. Admin support. I used to think I had administrative support at the higher ed level, but I've been thinking about this during the past year, and I'm realizing that what I had was academic freedom, which is different than administrative support. I don't mean this as a criticism of any specific person, as the people that I worked with were generally nice people, but rather on the state of higher education in general. In my experience, there was never anyone saying, "What do you need to be successful and how can we help you get what you need?" It was "Sink or swim, and if you sink, there are hundreds of hungry PhDs that will be equally qualified who can replace you." Many, many people have written on this toxic culture in academia, and it does not have to be this way. But it can be this way because there are so many PhDs and so few jobs.
  5. NO PUBLICATION REQUIREMENTS!!! In hindsight, academia was never a good fit for someone who doesn't have any ambition to publish. And it's not even that I don't like actually doing the research. Nerd that I am, I have been collecting data on student vocabulary retention this year to help establish benchmarks for vocabulary learning as I develop my program. My amazon cart has four books on acquisition of L2 vocabulary in it, just waiting for me to finish the school year so that I have time for some light "leisure" reading. :D When I'm not a new high school teacher, I would like to turn this blog into accessible summaries of current research in second language acquisition. But it was very frustrating to spend so much time running studies, getting weird results, and having things get rejected because the results were different than what previous studies had shown. 
Full disclosure: I do miss a few things.  I miss my prep time. Or maybe it's better to say that I miss the research time that I used to prep my classes. I taught 15 hours/week tops, which left a respectable amount of time for prep and grading (though still not enough once you add research into the mix). First, let me say that my school admin is great at protecting our time, so this is not a complaint about my school, but rather about what our society feels is a reasonable workload for educators. I always get my plan period and my district is great about not killing us with superfluous meetings. My plan period each day is 55 minutes, which is supposed to be enough time to plan for three different classes and do any grading that needs done. Well, I have 100 students, so 55 minutes/day doesn't even come close to the amount of time I need to do everything. A lot of this will be better once I have my materials developed and I'm not making everything from scratch, but it's still not enough time. Some of this is just part of life; we'll never have enough time for everything we want to do, which means we need to prioritize. But 100 students and 55 minutes/day means that I can't do very many assessments because I don't have time to evaluate them. I'm getting creative and using technology to help me, but there are some things that can't be automated well (or affordably), like writing and speaking. And again, let me say that my workload is much better than that of many teachers. Other teachers in my cohort have 140-160 students and a lot more meetings. In my last post, I mentioned a Cult of Pedagogy post that talks about teacher plan time in other countries, and the US does not come out favorably in the comparison. 
But isn’t that just the nature of the job? Not everywhere. According to a 2010 research brief from Stanford University, U.S. teachers spend 80 percent of their work hours delivering instruction to students. The average in other high-achieving nations? 60 percent. And brace yourself: In South Korea, Japan and Singapore, that average plummets to a staggering 35 percent. Yes, you read that right. In these countries, just 35 percent of teachers’ time is spent teaching students. The rest of their work hours are spent collaborating, studying, and planning, making their instructional time as good as it can be.
There has been a lot of news about teacher strikes and teacher shortages lately, and while we definitely need to work on improving teacher pay, there are other things that we could do to retain talented teachers, and giving them enough time to do a decent job during a regular work week is one of them. I've spent every weekend this year developing materials and grading. I come in by 6:30 every day. I frequently still work in the evenings (on menial tasks that require no brain power, like making vocabulary cards). I know that this will improve as I have my classes developed, but it shouldn't happen in the first place. I should be able to have the time that I need to provide a quality education AND spend time with my family. (And again, I reiterate that many, if not most, teachers have more demands on their time than I do.) Why do we just expect that teachers will need to work on evenings and weekends?

The other thing I miss is teaching teachers. I really did enjoy teaching world language teachers, but as I told my student teacher supervisor, I'm not interested in returning to higher education. I already know it's not a good fit for me, and I've finally found a job that I love. So hopefully I will be able to mentor world language teachers in an unofficial capacity at some point when things have settled down a little.

Final thoughts on teacher recruitment and retention: While I didn't choose my career path with the intention of teaching high school, it's actually one that I would recommend, for a few reasons.  First, I love knowing my content area so well. When I first started teaching, I was reasonably proficient in Spanish, but still made a lot of mistakes that me cringe when I see them now. Going through a master's program in literature and a PhD program in linguistics has given me enough time in the language that I have a deep understanding of its structures and a broad knowledge of its literature. Second (and I think a big selling point), while I was doing all of this study, I was working as a TA, so I was getting teaching experience in a fairly structured environment. I was also getting paid a small stipend, and most importantly, getting all of my tuition paid for. If I had started teaching high school after graduating with my PhD, I would currently be making more than I would have if I'd gotten tenure at my university. And I have no student debt. So I would advise future teachers to go to graduate school FIRST, with a teaching assistantship or some other form of financial support (not on your own dime), and get as much education as you can while someone else is paying for it (and before you know the feeling of having a regular paycheck). You will have some years of lost wages, sure, but you won't be saddled with a huge student loan burden wondering if you'll ever be able to pay it all back. Since I didn't have a "real" job with a real paycheck until I turned 30, I didn't mind making $10,000-$12,000/year for 8 years while I was in graduate school. And I love not owing $50,000-$100,000 for the fantastic education that I received.