Well, it’s time to wrap up a semester of my Independent Learning Project. This semester has flown by at record speed, and it seems like just yesterday I was attempting to set up a Twitter and WordPress account for this class. I remember feeling a lot of excitement to begin learning Spanish and working out all of the times Eli and I could meet throughout the week.
At the beginning of this experience, I was eager to learn. I loved meeting with Eli even to practice the alphabet, and I would practice wherever I went. As the semester went on, my motivation slowly declined. This, by no means, was Eli’s fault. He was an amazing teacher this semester, but I became so much busier with other aspects of my life (a new class after midterms, more volleyball practices, etc.) that I began losing motivation for my ILP. It seemed like we were doing the same thing every time we met, which was necessary to memorize letters and phonetics, but I began losing interest and focusing on other things. There was one week we didn’t meet at all. I practiced on my own, but it was even harder to keep motivation doing that.
At the beginning of the semester, I envisioned myself as a fluent Spanish speaker by the end of this process. Realistically, I knew this wasn’t a possibility, but thinking that made me more excited about the experience. Although, I wasn’t even close to reaching this goal, I’m still happy with the progress I did make.
I think the best part of this project is what I learned about Eli, who learned English after Spanish, and what I learned about myself as a student. Although there is no way to tell English is Eli’s second language, he didn’t learn it until he was in elementary school, and it was really interesting for me as a future teacher to hear about his experiences.
What I have learned about myself as a learner will make me a better teacher. At the beginning, I was excited about learning a new skill, and that’s not unusual. I think students and people in general are naturally curious and want to learn. We want to know more about those around us and the world around us. Typically, classrooms squash this curiosity. In order to foster my students’ curiosity, I need to keep them on their toes. Routines are necessary, but I can’t let myself or my students get stuck in them.