Sunday, September 20, 2015

That's Stupid vs. That's Different

It's the first couple of weeks of learning another language and students are really curious and asking some great questions like
  • Why are there upside question marks? 
  • Why are there accents on some words?
  • Why is the date in front of the month?
  • Why is the adjective in front of the noun in a sentence?
Some of the questions I know the answer to, some of them I don't. In the past I have "Google" many of those questions myself. Some of the answers make sense to me, some of them I just shrug my shoulders and say "OK." Some of the answers I can never truly understand.

It's great that students notice the differences between Spanish and English and want to understand! However I've also heard some students notice these differences or hear the explanation and just reject the logic by saying something like "that's stupid."

No. It's not. It's just different. You are learning something new. New information is not stupid. It's an awful habit to develop negative feelings for anything that doesn't immediately make sense to you. It will ruin every day of your life because you will probably learn new things about the world every day for a very long time! 

The world is full of different, complex languages and cultures that have completely different ways of thinking about the world than we might be used to. These diverse cultures and people are not stupid, they are different. 

You don't have to learn all the differences, or completely understand them. I don't! Be excited that there are so many different ways to think about things. It makes for a fascinating world to live in!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Introducción de Ms. Bordner


I am very excited to get to know the City High class of 2018 and have fun together in la clase de espanol! Since I'm asking you to introduce yourselves to me, I figured I'd tell you about me!

The biggest lesson I learned last year was that when I give my students more freedom to be creative and demonstrate what they are learning in their own way, students can produce very impressive work! This is best seen in the videos students made like Hymay Banks 005, El Restaurante de Pablo, and 

This is my 10th year teaching students Spanish. I did not grow up speaking Spanish, I learned it in high school just like you all will do with me! I grew up in a small town in Missouri and went to college in St. Louis, Missouri. In college I majored in Spanish and Media Communications, I really wanted to be a photojournalist traveling the world. I love photography, music, and making videos. (In college I had a radio show and I created, produced and acted in a TV show.) 

After college I moved to Chicago, Illinois where I taught students Spanish for six years. Then I moved to Pittsburgh and started working here at City High! As far as what I see for myself in the future, well I really enjoy teaching so I hope to continue to do that. I also hope to continue to travel to different places in the world! 

Hiking in Colombia
There are a few things that are really important in my life. The first is my family. Mike is my husband and we love to bike and travel together. Rich, my brother, along with his wife Ezichi and my nieces Amara and Zara live near Los Angeles California. Rich teaches high school English and Ezichi tutors math. My parents live in my hometown in Missouri but they visit Pittsburgh often!

Learning new things is also important to me. I love learning something new, and I find traveling to be a great way to learn about the world. I've traveled to close to 20 countries and this winter I hope to go to China and Vietnam.
Lucia and I biking in Spain
I ask my students to answer the question "What do you need from me to be successful?" so I'd like to share what I need from you in order for YOU to be successful. I need you to put forth your best positive effort on a daily basis. Learning a language is not easy, and mistakes and embarrassment can be common. Just know that's OK, it's part of the process, and to keep trying!

This August was really fun. I biked from Pittsburgh to Washington DC with some friends! It was 300 miles and took about 5 days. I also went to Chicago, Boston and Houston to visit friends.

Biking 300 miles from Pittsburgh to Washington DC