From a Middle School Spanish teacher…
It’s important to know that I use stories with recurring language to teach. This group was studying has a girlfriend/boyfriend, goes to, and is feeling angry. As you can imagine, the narrative possibilities are rich! It’s also useful to know that the class suggests details (locations, descriptions, etc.) to create the story. I just have the outline but the action is really theirs.
Juan has a girlfriend who is stolen from him by his brother. He doesn’t like conflict so he goes somewhere else (the moon) and meets another girl who decides that she wants to be his girlfriend. His brother discovers that Juan has a new girlfriend and goes to steal her away from Juan. Juan feels angry but doesn’t like conflict so he goes away and ignores the situation. He goes to Texas.
At this point, students are excited to tell me about Juan’s next love interest, and somehow it comes out that it’s a man. I paused, said in Spanish “it’s ok for Juan to have a boyfriend?” The students looked at me, looked at each other, shrugged, and said “why not?”
So Juan had a boyfriend, his brother tried to steal his boyfriend away from him, but Juan outsmarted his brother, and Juan and his boyfriend were happy.
For me, this was telling. I don’t think I would have been comfortable talking about boyfriends and girlfriends in the context of a story before spending time in your seminars. I might have edged around it- for instance, Juan might have had same-sex parents, but for some reason I don’t think I would have been comfortable including a character with multi-dimensional sexuality in stories. I keep thinking about the developmental appropriateness of boyfriends and girlfriends in 7th grade, and I think it’s great to have in the class, even just as a part of one story on one day.