So I think I got to know my students better than ever with this whole TPRS thing. And I was able to establish connections with them that I hadn't been able to do as easily before.
I mean, before, I would be able to ask them how they were and make artificial conversations with them about things. With TPRS, since it's a conversation, it's more natural and even though often times it can be fictional, they're playing along with you and sometimes a student will allow a real event to pop in while you might change what happens to them.
This year was about trying out as much as I could of TPRS and I found that although some students (from my lack of reading their eyes) got left behind, the abilities in the language and the confidence levels were much higher because you're constantly conversing in the language and students slowly will create sentences for you. Also, some students found themselves saying things in Spanish outside of class (and I'm not talking about random vocabulary). Instead, they have sentences going around, possible descriptions of things going on.
After this year, I am more than ever convinced that TPRS is the way to go for me in the future of teaching Spanish.
However, sadly, I will miss the students that I have experimented the method on this year. I have been teaching at this small rural school for 5 years now (starting off originally as an interim Spanish teacher / warm body). Since then I have gotten my master's in teaching Spanish as well as my certification in teaching.
Next year I will be teaching in a new school and will have to build new connections. I will be able to see the effectiveness of TPRS in a mixed classroom with students who already have fluency in spoken Spanish or partial fluency because the town is a mixture of white-Missourian students and Mexican and Central American students.
I'm excited about the change but I will miss my students dearly. I hope to only further improve my TPRS teaching next year and do much better at assessing my students as well as not leaving them behind.