ABOUT ME

MEET ELISABETH

MEET ELISABETH

I’m Elisabeth, the teacher and mother behind Spanish Mama. I actually never expected to speak Spanish, teach Spanish, or raise my kids in it. But here I am!

I struggled in my Spanish classes, back in school. Multilingualism seemed to be for a special crowd: people less self-conscious or with a “better ear” for languages. As much as I loved the adventure of travel and different cultures, a second language felt out of reach.

I created this little corner of the internet because life surprised me. I did learn a second language, and later, I discovered resources that gave me confidence as a teacher and parent. I want my readers to feel the same. You can raise little Spanish-speakers; your classroom can be full of living language that sticks!

You’ll notice I have a little bit of everything. If it feel overwhelming, my start here page is a good place to get oriented.

How We Got Here

 

In 2003, I entered UNC-Chapel Hill with plans to major in Elementary Education and minor in Spanish. After floundering through Spanish 2, I dropped the minor and figured a second language wasn’t for me.

In 2007, I moved to the high jungle of Peru to teach English. Five months turned into two years, and along the way I fell for a local guy named Pocho. We got married in the U.S. and lived there 8 years, before returning to Peru in 2017.

I’ve taught a little bit of everything over the past 10 years: English in Peru, 1st and 2nd grade in the U.S., and Spanish from preschool to high school.

Spanglish Living

 

Even when dating, we talked about raising our kids bilingually. It seemed like a no-brainer when our first baby was born! But when the time came for cooing and baby talk, and then little baby commands, I felt a little lost and unnatural.

I realized that being a bilingual family was going to involve more intentionality than I’d realized. It’s meant building a library of books, music, and poetry in Spanish, making a language plan, and working really hard. We’re planning to home school bilingually in a few years as well, and are exploring options to follow a Charlotte Mason model in Spanish.

Teaching Spanish

 

I teach Spanish in my newly textbook-free classroom— an exciting and challenging change. I’m a firm believer now that we should start with the whole, and then move to the parts (rather than starting with bits of grammar rules and vocabulary). Now we are proficiency-based and comprehensible input-driven.

I teach using a combination of TPRS, authentic songs and resources, games, and novels to give students real-life Spanish skills. I have lots of ideas and fun as a teacher, but am not always super-organized. Interactive notebooks help keep us anchored and organize class content and the few days we do grammar. I feel like teachers face a lot of judgment on the internet, whichever way we teach. I hope you don’t feel that here!

Interested in More?

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You'll receive some welcome emails, and then be part of the regular list. I write a few times a month with tips, ideas, and behind-the-scenes news.


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