Over the past several weeks, I have been pondering what it means to be teacher. I cherish the time I have with my students, and frankly, I am a better person because of them. As we share ideas together, take risks in vulnerability, and fill our individual knowledge gaps with bits of truth contributed by individual class members, we all grow, and it’s a beautiful process.
I recently finished reading The Courage to Teach by Parker J. Palmer. Though more than two decades old, its pages are nonetheless fresh and inspiring. Sadly, many of the work's concerns are yet to be resolved, with some issues in deeper crisis now than then. But mostly, I’ve been thinking about the concept of community. In the context of the Tapas project, the chapter “Learning in Community: The Conversation of Colleagues” seemed particularly pertinent. In the first paragraph, Palmer asks: “Could teachers gather around the great thing called ‘teaching and learning’ and explore its mysteries with the same respect we accord any subject worth knowing?” (146). My personal response is an enthusiastic “sí,” and it is one of the main reasons I wanted to create Tapas. This resource site was never intended to simply be a repository of classroom activities—as important as they are! I hope it will also become a true community of teachers where we can learn and grow together.
As another step toward that aim, I am pleased to announce with this inaugural post a newTapas blog, where we—as fellow teachers of Spanish—can circulate ideas, propose initiatives, challenge ourselves, and teach each other from diverse perspectives. Ours is not an easy profession, but I believe in teachers, especially when we band together in community. Therefore, I personally invite each of you to contribute your best ideas (up to 1000 words) in either English or Spanish to this blog. Potential contributions (teaching tips, classroom activities, advocacy statements, commentary on the profession, etc.) can be emailed on a continuing basis to email@example.com for review. I also welcome recommendations for topics you would like to see addressed in the future. As we engage in active dialogue, I am confident that our classroom teaching and the resources on Tapas will both benefit from collaboration!
Palmer’s final chapter asks: “Is it possible to embody our best insights about teaching and learning in a social movement that might revitalize education?” (169). I believe we can, and now is a critical time to act boldly and collectively as Spanish educators. I sincerely hope that Tapas, and specifically this blog, will provide a valuable forum to help us get there.