Thank You, 2020!

By Diego Ojeda
www.srojeda.com
@DiegoOjeda66
@Sr_Ojeda

The end of the year is a special time.  Starting with November’s Thanksgiving celebrations, we begin to publicly acknowledge our gratitude for those who have inspired and challenged us. However, this year has been different, and much more stressful, than past years. Typically, there would be social media threads dedicated to enhancing collaboration and mutual support, but this holiday season, social media has been full of messages about how 2020 is a year to forget, not to be thankful for. 

Christmas is approaching, and I am already beginning to hear voices clamoring not to celebrate it or even mention it. I understand that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but I also know that the end of the year is a special time when we love to feel closer to the important people in our lives. There is nothing religious about that, and celebrating does not hurt anyone.

We teachers always want to motivate and empower our students, especially when they may be feeling defeated in their academic, social or family lives. We are aware that we are responsible for academic content, but we also know deep down that nothing teaches more than the constant support we give our students through a positive and hopeful attitude. However, I keep finding the same kinds of messages: “2020 is to forget. 2020 has been the worst year in the history of the world. There is nothing to celebrate in 2020. I hope 2020 will end soon.”

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7 Ways to Find Support in Online Teacher Communities

By Alma Rivera

@proferiveraac 

Now that we’ve had about a month of this new school year, how do you feel? Overwhelmed? Exhausted? Challenged? Perhaps even discouraged? You have heard it already: This is a totally different school year. What do we do when these feelings grab at us?

One answer is to find support in online teacher communities. We need to lean on each other more than ever before. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few websites that have helped me get through the rough times:

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We will never be the same educators (hopefully)

By Diego Ojeda
www.srojeda.com
@DiegoOjeda66

Although it has not been easy for anyone to endure the months under COVID-19, it’s been especially difficult for all those involved in education. Students, teachers, and administrators have found themselves facing an unknown, unexpected, and uncertain reality.

As we try to close the school year in the best possible way, we begin to think about the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead as we think of returning to school this fall, and about how we build up from this experience of almost three months of distance education.  We find hypothetical solutions that allow us to have peace of mind during the summer feeling that we are prepared to assume a hybrid virtual and in-person teaching experience.

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Online learning: The new normal

By Diego Ojeda
www.srojeda.com
@DiegoOjeda66

Just a little over a week ago I was saying goodbye to my students without knowing when I would see them again. This was a rather strange, and above all, sad experience, as I described it in a blog post.

By now I have already met a couple of times online with each one of my classes and to be honest, it has been one of the longest weeks of my life. In addition to the idea of having to be confined at home, the pressure of preparing classes in a format that we are not used to can be a very big challenge.

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Holiday activities for your world language classroom

By Diego Ojeda
www.srojeda.com
@DiegoOjeda66

Christmas and the end of the year are two important events for most of the Western world, but of course there are differences in how they are celebrated in different countries and cultures. I am originally from Colombia and I came to the United States 20 years ago and I still remember my first Christmas in this country as if it were last year.

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Day of the dead; day of the living

By Diego Ojeda
www.srojeda.com
@diegoojeda66

Celebrations such as the Day of the Dead allow us, Spanish teachers, to reflect on the purpose of our classes. Do we teach Spanish so that our students learn to decode the language? Or is it also our responsibility to teach about culture? A language is not only its syntax, but also its semantics, and it is semantics combined with cultural expressions that allows us to find the ultimate meaning of each interaction.

The Day of the Dead is one of those celebrations that can cause problems for more than one Spanish teacher. In Western European culture, death is a dreary, sad and sometimes even forbidden topic.

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Beyond the piñatas: An authentic celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

By Diego Ojeda
www.srojeda.com
@diegoojeda66

It was my first year of teaching Spanish in the United States when just a few weeks after I started the school year one of my colleagues approached me and asked me about my plans to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. I confess that I was a bit perplexed because I had never heard about this celebration. For a moment I thought she was referring to Día de la Raza, a celebration of Latin American countries where we honor our roots and our identity.  But I soon realized that we were in September and that Día de la Raza is celebrated on October 12, the same date of the federal holiday that celebrates the life of the man who left so much poverty and sadness after the “discovery” of America.

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