You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
This is a common expression, traced back to the 1700s and probably earlier, that is used to share the idea that you will reach your goals by being nice to people rather than being nasty.
Proverbs like this one endure the ages because they’re true. They are life lessons for us all.
In speaking recently with my colleague, Carrie Toth, she shared with me a similar message that she had heard recently in church (paraphrasing):
There are two reasons why people don’t go to church – they either haven’t met a Christian yet, or they have.
We agreed that it can be this way within our TPRS / TCI community. Either our colleagues aren’t aware of TPRS / TCI and the power it has to change our students’ language learning experiences, or they’ve met someone whose actions have left the sourest of tastes and TPRS / TCI becomes guilty by association.
This is a call to pour more honey.
It’s easy for passion to be misinterpreted. It’s easy to feel that the transformation you’ve undergone should be undergone universally. It’s logical to want what you feel is best for others.
But it’s critical that we all remember why we do what we do. We are in this to make a difference for our students, to create a more tolerant, multilingual society, to share the joy we’ve experienced knowing people of other cultures through their language. We (and I’m talking about educators in general) are already over-worked and underpaid. We struggle with work-life balance, working more than one job, and oh, boy could I make that list go on and on. Nobody deserves to be mistreated or disrespected because they’re at a different place on their journey.
We’re all on the same team.
Over the years I’ve met folks who felt TPRS was about someone’s “personality”. In my own district there are introverted, non-theatrical teachers kicking butt with TPRS, but my saying so wouldn’t change that person’s mind. I’ve met people who couldn’t imagine acting out stories, but could use puppets. Folks who love the reading aspect but don’t feel comfortable asking personalized questions. And I’ve known people long enough to know that they are always evolving. We are always evolving. And actually, that’s the beauty of TPRS. It’s NOTHING like it was 10 years ago, which was NOTHING like it was 20 years ago. Mostly, I’ve met educators who are willing to take risks and try new ideas with the goal of improving our own craft and our students’ experiences.
This blog exists for those of us who are actively trying to improve. It’s a place to share the difference that taking the dive into TPRS and Teaching with Comprehensible Input has made both for me professionally and for the thousands of students I teach, have taught, will teach. I’m interested in helping others learn how to create a classroom of JOYful and effortless language acquisition. And I’m interested in creating spaces where 100% of students experience success in language acquisition and develop the confidence and competence to continue learning languages into the future.
It can be done. And it can be done for almost every. single. kid.
I welcome you here no matter where you may be on your personal journey.
But please know there is no silver bullet and there is no finish line. I’m also on my own journey and am changing and evolving as an educator and human being as well.