Episode 45: The MOST magical thing...

la familia loca podcast Jun 13, 2023


FULL of gratitude. FULL of it.

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About eight years ago, I began to question my Spanish teaching career, something just seemed off and I couldn't put my finger on it because I didn't really know at the time that something was completely wrong about what I was doing. I was in a funk and yet there was an inkling that I had in my gut; an inkling that kept me awake at night as I pondered what was going on in my classes. I woke up one morning and Googled best practices for World Language classrooms. That is when I discovered CI, which at the time was called TPRS. I jumped in with both feet and began to devour everything I could to get my hands on. And I taught myself about this new strategy. I began to use some of the things that I was reading about my classes, and what a difference it made. I abandoned my textbooks and workbooks, and I began to create stories with my classes, focusing on comprehensible input. I completely changed everything that I was doing in my classes. I felt like a first-year teacher again. But then I found la familia loca. I had always known about Annabelle, and I had always admired her from a distance. But, when she advertised a group that would help bridge the gap between what I already knew and where I wanted to be, I knew it was the place for me. I did not hesitate to join the group. I've been with Annabelle from the very beginning, and I absolutely recommend this group to anyone and everyone. I always knew that my la familia loca was in my corner, and I never felt alone. I was given the inspiration and the resources to continue with my CI journey. All of my questions were answered, and I knew that I had a true friend in Annabelle. This group is everything you will ever need. Jump off the fence. You won't regret it."


Oh my gosh, y'all. I literally received this email earlier today and thought Nope, right now I know exactly what I'm podcasting on. Because I'm pre-recording these before I take the rest of June off, fully off away from computers. And this was the email I needed to give me the inspiration for this podcast that I'm going to record for you right now. Yeah. Welcome to Teaching la vida loca, a podcast for World Language Teachers seeking inspiration, unapologetic authenticity, and guidance in centering joy, and facilitating language acquisition for the people who matter most, our students I'm your host Annabelle. Most people call me la maestra loca. And I'm an educator just like you and inspiring teachers is what I do.

La Familia Loca 

I have sprinkled in little bits and pieces here and there about la familia, loca PLC in various recordings during this podcast. Well. during the life of this podcast, which by the way, oh my god, 45 episodes, are you kidding me? Amazing. But I have never really taken the time to just talk about it. And to talk about how freaking incredible it is and how incredibly grateful I am for the opportunity to work with these incredible teachers across the globe. And how proud I am of it. Honestly, it's I've never been more proud of anything in my career than la familia loca PLC. I actually started it years ago, because I really needed a way for my ideas to be shared in a way other than blogging because I had 96 blog drafts. And I was kind of tired of always going to these epic conferences and making all these great relationships and connections with teachers and inspiring them. And then literally never hearing back about how things were going, like never getting that follow up of. "Oh, yeah, that thing that you presented on the summer this is I tried it in my own class, and it freaking flopped. Like it was awful." Or "oh my gosh, I tried that thing. And it was amazing." Because either way, I need that follow up to know how I can like, coach you through those challenges or celebrate you with the wins, right? But I was feeling totally at a loss because I was rarely if ever hearing back from teachers about like, what went well or what didn't.

PD in June

So, creating a PLC, which stands for professional learning community felt like that exact next step, I needed to be able to continue sharing my ideas in a way that felt manageable and not overwhelming like blogs. And in a more intimate way where I could really connect on a much deeper level with teachers. Little did I know it would be eventually across the world. Now four years later, I have members on six different continents. The only continent we are missing is Antarctica. But I don't know how many world language teachers are in Antarctica to be, to be honest. But if there are Darnit I want one of you in my PLC at least, and the community we have created. And I say we because we really it is not just me is one that I don't have words to describe. Every June I take off and my partner in crime, Vivianna Tracy runs the community and runs the PD because we do PD in June. But it's all focused on relaxing and self-care and boundaries and that sort of thing, since many of our members start their summer in June, many don't start till July though, because you know, that's just schools in the US. But it's a really incredible place where we can learn and grow together every single month.

The Community 

The best part about our community is the people itself. The people within our community who love and support and uplift each other in the Facebook group. I know it sounds super, like cheesy, but legit, y'all. When somebody's having a bad day, they go there and they're like, oh, my God, this happened and it was awful. And 10 minutes later, people are like, Oh, me, too. Let me tell you about mine. And then it turns from a "b" fast. A bit.. fest, too. I just realized, like, it's my podcast, I can say words if I want to. That turns from that into this uplifting Oh, my God, I tried this, you should try this. Or have you thought of using this or, hey, I made this resource for my kids tomorrow. I think it's going to be a hit. You can use this, like this group of collaboration and sharing that it's just like what is going on? It's so beautiful. It's just cultivated this place where people feel safe sharing the good and the bad all the time, which is wonderful.

Professional Development

Within the community, we have a monthly professional development. So, I provide a workshop of the month where people come and they learn specific strategies to apply in their classroom. We have a guest of the month, every month just in the last year we had Jenny Witzig, Alison Litton, Erica Pinsky, Bertha Delgadillo, Rocio Jacoby. We've had Elisa. We've had Alesia Cardenas, we've had Kailyn Lamar. We've had John Seifert and Justin Slocum Bailey Wade Blevins, we've had Ben Tinsley. We've had Julie Thompson, we've had Bo Leno. We've had Megan Hayes. We've had our very own Shane Goodpasture, Meredith White's, Lisa MCH, we've had Jerry Parker. We've had Martha Janek, like I just the list goes on and on. And I'm very fortunate to be connected to so many wonderful humans that I'm lucky enough to call mentor and mentors and friends and I can kind of twist their arm into letting me hire them to come and be our guests of the month. There are resources shared every month in English, Spanish and French. Because we have world language teachers from all over the world and of the many different languages. We have many more than just English language and the English language teachers, Spanish language teachers in French language teachers, we also have Latin teachers in the community, German teachers in the community. We have one Italian teacher, Chinese teachers, and I'm just amazed at how it has grown.

Our Sessions

One of my favorite things that we do every month is a session. And it's literally based on just building our community and focusing on us as humans outside of our profession. So, we've done you know, yoga sessions, and Zumba sessions and cooking sessions and painting sessions and drawing classes and trivia nights. Game Show nights. Happy hours. Happy hours are always really fun. That's one of the few things that we don't record. And onto that note, we record everything except for those happy hours. We record everything and it's all uploaded into a portal so that you can access it whenever you want to. There are people who some months don't come for anything except for the resources. There are other people who come every month to the workshop. They grab the resources and they come to the session every now and then I have some members who this year only came to the sessions because they were like everything else is just like I'm exhausted and I just need this one piece of the community. I need this piece of like, filling my personal cup every month. So, I can't say enough about La Familia Loca PLC it is truly magical one of the kind and something I am so incredibly proud of.

First Retreat!

If you're interested in joining or being part of our waitlist, we do have a waitlist right now. But I'm planning on opening the community having a flash opening very soon. Because next month we're doing two huge first-time things for la familia loca PLC. The first is we are having our very first ever retreat. So, I get to meet some of these people who I have been, ah, supporting and inspiring and they have been doing the same if not more for me. And I get to hug them in person for the first-time next month. We are going to be in a big, beautiful beach house on the beach, literally beach house like literally you walk out onto the sand. And I cannot wait for that. It's our first of many summer retreats together, I am sure and then we are also having our very first virtual Familia Loca conference which I mentioned in my last podcast, we're having two days of Learning Connection, growth community and joy, because that is what we center. And the presenters are all familia, loca members, they're all members of our community because we have teachers who are brand new to acquisition driven instruction. We have teachers who are like diving feet first in just like Susan's email that you just heard. And we also have those teachers who are very experienced and have been doing this for a long time. Some of my very own mentors are in La Familia loca PLC, and I am so, every time I see a name pop up as a new member, that is somebody that I look up to and admire. I'm like, oh my gosh, but one of the ways I can continue to help them is to grow their platform and give them a space to present. And it's just, y'all. There's no place like la familia loca PLC. And I would love to have you experienced the joy, connection and community that makes us unlike any other like any other PLC on the planet, it's really incredible.

Get on the Waitlist! 

Like I said, if you're interested in checking it out, learning more joining the waitlist, go ahead and check the link in my bio or email me reach out Annabelle at la maestra loca.com. I would love to hear from you. And I'm really excited to potentially support you in this way moving forward or in the future. Maybe even see you at our very first conference this July 2023. Grateful for you teacher and I hope that you are lavishing every single second of your summer if you're already there. And if you're not just remember, some of us have to go back in July. So, I am lavishing it now, you will lavish it later. Also, why can't we just all be on the same exact time so that none of us make each other feel guilty or bummed out? When we're not on summer break? Because why are we not I just don't understand anyways. Okay, love you lots. And until next time, I will not be teaching la vida loca, I will be resting and lavishing my summer break. This will be ready for you probably I think it's going to be scheduled to post the week of the 12th of June. And then of course I'll have one the following week. But I'm gonna pre-record that right now to so that I can really enjoy my summer. Take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. And come and join la familia loca PLC. Okay, that's all have a great day, bye.

Thank you!

Okay, so if you're already a familiar loca member, and you have listened the whole way through, I already know that you did. Thank you. I love you so much. You already know what I want you to do. I want you to share this with the person that you want to be part of our community, I'm sure you can think of at least one world language teacher who could benefit from our community, from the resources that we share from the PD that we provide, or just for the overall support that we give and receive from each other all throughout the year. So, I want you to send this to at least one of those people when you think oh, they'd be a perfect fit for our community. Send it to that person for me. Send it to that person and tell them Hey, I really would love for you to be a part of this. This is how it's inspired me this is how la familia loca PLC has helped me. I love you. I'll talk to you soon. Bye.

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