Welcome to our profession! Language teachers are in the enviable position of opening the doors of the world to our students. I strongly believe it is our job to give them an experience they can't get elsewhere. Do that and they'll keep coming back for more.

I love working with teachers, especially those new to the profession. Please feel free to contact me at sralil@mchsi.com


My three all time favorite resources that I think can really help new teachers:

Be sure to check out the FLTeach Listserv! The Archives are a gold mine of ideas. The FAQs can also give you good ideas and support to help you get started and keep you on track throughout the year. The posts found on the Listserv have really challenged my thinking about what it takes to acquire a language vs. learn a language. FLTeach has been one of the best "colleagues" I've ever worked with! (Be sure to search the Archives for fabulous postings by Ellen Shrager and Cherice Montgomery.)

Kagan Cooperative Learning--This was the lifeline for me as a new teacher. The structures allowed me to stay in the target language, engage my students, and maintain an orderly learning environment. I can't recommend it enough. Beg and plead to get this training or at least some of the materials.
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Inside/Outside Circle


I wish Harry Wong had written The First Days of School when I began teaching. I pull out my copy every year before school starts and just review his common sense ideas.
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This is from a presentation based on The First Days of School that I share with new teachers in my district:


This is a newsletter that I have on student desks when they arrive on the first day. It gives them a sense of who their teacher is and what the class will be like, as well as information about the Salsa Club and Cultural Diversity Club. It also fills in those awkward first few minutes before class starts when they're often too shy to talk with anyone yet. I ask them to take it home to share with their parents and find that is also a good publicity/advocacy tool to promote language study.




More helpful stuff:
Here's a helpful article: 10 Tips For Teachers To Make This A Great Year

I like the Dear Yana (You Are Not Alone) columns offered through the National Capitol Language Resource Center. The column offers lots of good advice.

I mentioned Ellen Shrager above with the FLTeach Listserv. She has several excellent books that help coach teachers through our dealings with difficult students and their parents. Make a beeline to her sessions if you're at a conference where she is presenting. Better get there early because it will be standing room only!

Students are talked to a great deal during the first few weeks of school as teachers set up their routines. To combat so much lecturing, here is a great idea about guiding students on a tour of your classroom so that they can actually see and experience how everything works: Teaching Secrets: Taking My Students on a Classroom Tour


Professional Organizations
Although there is a wealth of materials online, there is still nothing like visiting face to face with the teachers that you meet through your involvement in professional organizations. Attending a conference is one of the best shots in the arm to keep us energized when our spirits are flagging. Here's a link to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) which will direct you to other organizations in your state as well as regional and other national organizations. Get involved early and you'll never regret it!