BAP017 Gerson Bermudez

This is  the video that started all the other videos.  In this week’s podcast, I share the audio and also reflect on why Gerson’s words are so meaningful to my students.

** 2019 UPDATE**  Scroll to the bottom of this post to see updated pics and info on what he is doing now.

Listen to “BAP017 Gerson Bermudez, He Will Inspire You and Your Students!” on Spreaker.

This video gets requested more than the others and never fails to have an impact on my classes or on a room full of teachers, for that matter.

Gerson Bermudez is an intrinsically motivated, driven student who helps us all see what is possible in language acquisition.

In the podcast I talk about how I’m careful to share with my students that they need not put this much effort to be successful.  But  I do want them to see that our ability to learn another language (or to learn most things) is up to the learner. The learner is the one that decides how quickly we will pick up a new skill.  It is often about time on task.

We have a mantra in my class:  The more you read, the more you can read.

Of course, as educators, it is our responsibility to shelter instruction so our English learners are able to comprehend our lessons and acquire the English with as much ease as possible.  But students must realize what is possible depends on how much they engage with the learning.  This is the piece I was missing as a young, struggling learner.  I had plenty of teachers telling me that I was smart and that I had potential.  But I didn’t really believe that.  I didn’t realize how quickly I could improve my reading level.  I spent all my time frustrated with grade level text that was frustrational.  If I had realized that reading more of any text, would improve my decoding skills dramatically, I would have engaged with that sooner.  And there is nothing like seeing someone who has done it.  Someone about your own age.

In the podcast I describe how we use Gerson’s video.  We do a compare/contrast about us and him.  We refer back to that all year long.  It helps a great deal.  In fact, this student decided to record a quick thank you to Gerson:

I’m always thrilled at how the video affects the students.  They see Gerson as a hero.

He is so well liked that I caught up with him last year to get an update.  Here is that quick clip:

If you go to the videos page of my blog you will see many more videos of students who have had success and most will tell you that this boy really encouraged them to do more.

I hope this podcast and these videos are helpful to you, your colleagues and your students.  There is way too much conversation about what our language learners can’t do right now.  I’m proud of all the teachers who write me about what ELLs CAN DO.  And I’m happy to contribute some video to back that up.

Have a great week and a great 2018!



Congratulations on your graduation, Gerson!  Thank you for inspiring so many students and their teachers!


PS:  Reach out if you are interested in consulting services.  You can reach me at

ALSO!  Check out Upcoming Events!  I’d love to meet you IRL!

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