Dear teacher trying something new - Mis Clases Locas

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Teaching with Novels

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Dear teacher trying something new

Inside: An open letter of support to a teacher trying something new this school year.  

Dear teacher trying something new

**This post was originally published on 9/8/15, but it is as true as ever exactly three years later. 

Dear teacher trying something new this year, 

Look at you go! You are a rock star for realizing that you should make a change and actually trying it. Since you know better you have an obligation to do better. You have seen the light and are charging full speed ahead towards something you have never tried before. 

You have crossed the line into some possibly scary waters. The old way was safe. It was easy. It was how you were taught and is all you ever knew. Until suddenly your world was turned upside down. Someone showed you something life changing like proficiency, comprehensible input, a deskless class, genius hour, teaching with novels, or anything else wonderful from #langchat. You slowly sipped the kool-aid, scoured amazing blogs, planned like crazy, spent half your paycheck at TPT, and then spent the summer a nervous wreck waiting for the first day of school. 

Then came the first attempt at the new thing. Maybe it was the best day of your life and you wanted to scream it from the mountaintops that you have found the magical secret to foreign language teaching. Or maybe it flopped so bad that you had to choke back tears as you tried to put the pieces back together of your broken plan. If it was the first thing you better all share with us exactly how you did it so we can all try our darnedest to replicate the perfect recipe. If it was the second, please know this.


F - First 

A - Attempt
I  - In
L - Learning

how you felt after the 1st week of school...or a failed lesson

Just because that one class may have failed, it does not mean you should quit the profession. Remember that even a poorly executed lesson using some scary new technique, is probably better than your 15 year old textbook/workbook combo and memorizing verb charts. (AKA my class my first year teaching in 2012). I do not have all the answers, but I do know I am sure glad I keep making scary leaps, day after day, and year after year. If you don't take that first leap off the edge, how are you ever going to know if you can fly?

Have a piece of chocolate, take a deep breath, join a group like the Mis Clases Locas FB group for support, reach out if you need help, and try again for a better tomorrow. 

Learning and growing every day, 



  1. Great article! It should be required reading for all teachers, old and new.

  2. Thanks for this! I really needed it after the disastrous first weeks I've had this year. I LOVE the fail acronym and will be making it into a poster and putting it in my classroom.

  3. oooooh I needed this. Today and every day this year so far!!! I am trying all kinds of new. I feel like I am drowning, I have no idea if anything good is happening for my kids. But by golly, I am trying!!!!!

    Thanks Allison!

  4. Thank you for this...I admire your work, blog, and especially these words. This is my 2nd year teaching Spanish & 1st year using CI/TPRS...I find hope in the fact that there are people like you who are doing this and have little ones. How do you do it? :)

    1. Thank you for reading. I beg, borrow and steal great lessons from others! There is no way i could do it without the novel teachers guides and storytelling units from Martina Bex. Please let me know if you ever have questions or need more ideas! You can do it!

  5. This was a great article to read. I feel that all teachers new and/or old should read. This is my first year attempting CI/TPRS. After teaching the traditional way for the past 8 years and realizing why my students couldn’t communicate...I knew that I needed to commit to a change. That is where I decided to read blogs about CI/TPRS during my summer. I can say that it was an eye opener because my students can communicate with me a lot better now than years ago.


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