When you feel discouraged, keep at it my friends. You do not know what the long-term results of your teaching will be.

This is a recent letter from Rachel, a college French graduate who has dealt with the consequences of a traumatic head injury and many personal challenges over the past several years. Her perseverance and ingenuity, as well as the power of acquisition-based teaching are both on display here.

Dear Mr. Hedstrom,

The other day I got into a minor traffic accident. The other driver spoke only Spanish, but I ended up feeling like a TPRS superstar because I was able to communicate with him in Spanish!

Almost four years ago, I observed your high school Spanish classes every day for almost three weeks. With the Spanish I picked up from those few classes I was able to communicate with the other driver. And I only observed!  I didn’t speak or do activities with the students and I was focused on writing my observations much of the time. I can’t imagine how much language I would have been capable of using had I been an actual student for a longer period of time. It really is a testament to the power of input. We should not force output. Input is the key, and with sufficient input the student can produce the language.

The whole experience was really eye-opening.  As an observer in your classes, I was there to pick up teaching techniques, but I also wound up acquiring language.

I really cannot tell you how happy the whole experience made me.  I feel inspired to dive back into the world of teaching with comprehensible input.  I have had a pretty rough go of it, and thankfully am doing better now, but I will be taking the year off before resuming my education with Student Teaching in Fall 2019.