Sunday, November 4, 2018

Hi! My name is Erin Coleman and I am the teacher-author behind The Engaged Spanish Classroom. 

I am a social worker turned high school Spanish teacher and cross country / hockey coach, in my 9th year teaching in an urban district in MA. I absolutely love my job, my students, and my coworkers. I have a very hard time getting up at 5:15 each morning, and during those few minutes I don't enjoy my job... however as soon as I am at school I am happy to be there. I never have to hope for the day to go by faster, as each class flies by. (One of my secrets is that I always try to over-prepare, so that there are never dull moments in class.)

In my teaching practice, I focus on building positive relationships with my students before anything else. This is something you will probably read a lot about here. I believe that a positive relationship can be the difference between reaching a student and never getting through to them. I recently read the quote, "You may not be able to teach every student every day. But if you love them today, you may be able to teach them tomorrow." I may have mixed up the words a bit, but that message really resonates with me. I teach in a diverse districts that services students from a variety of backgrounds. Many of our students choose to attend two or four year colleges, while others make the decision to go directly into the work force or into the armed forces. What does this mean? Well, it means we are just like any school around the world. There is not one cookie cutter "future after high school." I realized a few years ago that because of this (among many other reasons,) Spanish is not going to be every student's favorite or priority subject. Fewer still will continue their study of the language after my classes. I need to understand their needs, and to understand that their enthusiasm toward the language may not match mine and that's OK. Of course I liked Spanish in high school -- obviously, I became a Spanish teacher -- but I need to recognize that some students are in my class simply to pass. I need to get to know my students, and adapt to their needs. There is no "wrong reason" for sitting in my classroom, and I will work with them toward their goals even if they differ from my own. If I build a relationship with each student at the start of the year, then hopefully I can make the class a little more bearable for them. Maybe enjoyable, even :)

My goal for this page is to share more about the "how" and "why" behind my teaching. I love sharing strategies for engaging your students, but I also hope to share strategies that will help you save time and enjoy your job each day. Teaching is hard enough as it is; I hope to give you some strategies to make it easier.

I also want to remind you to embrace and enhance your self-care. I will remind you to treat yourself with grace, to be patient with yourself, and to give to yourself. I hope you will find some solace here, as well as the reassurance that you are enough. You are good enough, you are working hard enough, and your students are learning enough.

You are enough for your students. I promise.



  1. Congratulations, Erin! I am looking forward to reading your posts. ~Profe Harri

    1. Profe Harri, you are the best! I was hoping I might see you tomorrow at the NPEN conference... any chance you're going!? Thank you for the comment and I hope I can share ideas and motivation!

  2. Hey Erin! I'm excited for you about your new blog - congrats! Thanks for inviting us all into your world. It sounds like we share the same students. I work in an urban Title 1 district in MI. However, it's my...aging myself here...20th year. Time flies! You're doing an awesome job, and your students are lucky to have you! Keep it up! :-)

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for writing to me! :) And yes it sounds like we work with the same population. Every day is worth our time and energy!!

  3. Erin, I'm so glad I came across your blog. I've been looking for inspiration for ways to increase participation and engagement in Spanish class. Thank you for the posts- I've got lots of great ideas already and can't wait for more posts!


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