Game Plan for 2021-2022

  • Keep all remote resources from last year at the ready. (I have a feeling we’re going to need them)
  • Plan lessons around getting to know more about students. Even if the lesson involves a novella, or any other pre-written story, treat it like just another excuse to find out more about them. Ask them how they feel about the story, what they would do differently, etc.
  • Keep things simple. Don’t spend time on making everything sparkly and complicated. (I stink at decorating and graphic design anyway)
  • Keep the intensity and stakes low. We’re still in the middle of generation-defining, deadly pandemic that is closer to the begin than the end. Life is full of fear, death, financial instability, food and housing insecurity. We can’t pretend like things are normal, because we all know they aren’t. Show even more compassion when it comes to grading and assessments than you did last year. Be as gentle as humanly possible.
  • Rely heavily on reading. FVR, novellas, typed up versions of conversations, etc. Reading is truly the richest source of comprehensible input. I never remove my mask inside of my school building, so this also helps me avoid dehydration from talking a lot.
  • Leave everything at school. The past year and half put a lot of things into perspective for us as teachers. The teacher as martyr idea is finished. We can pour our hearts and souls into our teaching while we are at school, but that needs to end when we walk out of the building. We deserve time with our families, partners, hobbies, etc. Balance is a good thing.

Please take care of yourselves.

End of the School Year Reflection

This year has taught me a lot about about being a teacher. Here are some of the key lessons I learned from this school year.

  • Input is still everything. As long as students are reading or hearing something understandable, they are making progress.
  • We’ve all been working way too hard. We all want to make really cool, color-coded, fancy looking stuff that takes hours to make. Those things are nice, but not at all necessary. We can make cool stuff when we have the time and the energy, but we need to stop expecting that from ourselves.
  • There is no honor in self-sacrifice. As educators, we have long prided ourselves on going the extra mile for our students. We spend time, energy and money we don’t have, in order to do this. When it came time to send us back into school buildings during a global pandemic, it became clear that our extra efforts meant little. Not only were most communities unwilling to sacrifice comfort for our safety, a number of them fought with everything they had to put us in harm’s way. It is okay to love your job, but don’t expect it to love you back.
  • Keep attending quality professional development. Workshops, conferences, etc. are a huge part of what kept me going this year. While the state of world was like weight on my shoulders, attending CI-based PD consistently revitalized me. Learning from colleagues and friends, in a virtual room full of people going through the exact same challenges, gave me sense of community and helped share the mental burden. Even though I am feeling drained after this year, I am going to be attending tons of conferences and workshops.
  • “Be ruthless with systems, be kind to people.” – Michael Brooks.

Now is not the time…

This post is for all of my fellow educators out there.

Now is not the time to revamp your entire curriculum.

Now is not the time to compare yourself to “super teachers”.

Now is not the time to hone your craft.

Now is not the time to stay up until 3am creating immaculate Pear Decks.

Now is the not the time to beat yourself up for not providing enough comprehensible input.

Now is not the time feel guilty about using too much English in class.

Now is not the time to “pick up the pace”.

Now is not the time to inject more “rigor”.

Now is not the time pretend like this a normal school year.

Now is not the time to assess your quality as an educator.

Do whatever you need to do to make it through this year. Take all of these wonderful ideas, techniques, and materials, and think about how wonderful it will be to implement them next year. Now IS the time to focus on surviving, and save thriving for another day.

I love you all.

Magister Bracey

How to Start the 2020-2021 School Year!

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It’s officially that time of the year when all of schools will be in session! This is an unusual year but don’t worry, you got this! Whether you are in-person, hybrid or remote, this guide to the start of the year should help you navigate the rough waters ahead.


Congratulations! You are lucky enough to get the opportunity to return to your classroom and spend full days with your students and colleagues again. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for success…

  • Visit your elderly parents, grandparents, and loved ones who are suffering from terminal illness, and say goodbye. Your constant indoor exposure to hundreds and hundreds of people will make it extremely dangerous to visit them until at least a few weeks after the school year ends. Hopefully you’ll see them again, but who knows?
  • Cry deeply. Now is a great time to reflect upon the fact that despite your selfless pursuit of nurturing young lives, your life has been deemed disposable. So give yourself a good cry. You deserve it!
  • Stare into the Abyss and embrace despair. You’re ready! You spent the summer enduring intense psychological torture while your fate was decided, then undecided, and then decided again. Give up! Accept that you are nothing and that your fear of death and permanent organ damage are a sign of moral weakness. Don’t fight it! Stare deep into that abyss and abandon all hope, like a boss!
  • Delude yourself into a false sense of safety. Do you like YouTube? I like YouTube. Do you have a friend who is an idiot or who has no capacity to care about other human beings? Text this mouth-breathing friend of yours and ask them to send you their favorite YouTube clips about COVID 19. Watch them and really pay close attention. Close your mind off to reality and just pretend like everything is just fine. This mindset will truly set you up for success.
  • Don’t forget to sleep! Self-care and mindfulness are of utmost importance right now. It’s your fault that you have been abused and forced into mortal danger in the midst of a deadly pandemic, so you’d better find a way to be happy about it. Sleep is a vital part of this equation. You should get at least one to two hours of sleep before being jolted awake by the nightmares. Consider the nightmares to be like “brain breaks”, because your brain is literally breaking. Take care of yourself!
  • Teach stuff. There will be moments between the unrelenting sadness, sheer panic, total despair and self-delusion, when you’ll have to, you know, teach stuff. Don’t forget to teach stuff. If hybrid, sometimes this stuff happens over Google Meet.


  • Enjoy the temporary feeling of human dignity. We rarely take the time to experience genuine gratitude. Take this moment and recognize that you are living through a pandemic that is projected to have taken the lives of 400,000 Americans by the end of this year. Feel grateful that those who make decisions about your life and death, care whether you live or die. Be present and allow yourself to feel appreciated and loved.
  • Count down the days until all of that is flushed down the toilet. It’s important to be organized and to plan ahead. Even if your safety and well-being are a priority right now, they soon won’t be. That is why I recommend referring often to the tips I provided for in-person/hybrid above. The regular panic attacks caused by reading over those tips will help get you in the mindset to be the best teacher you can be.

You are the real hero. What would we ever do without you? You are lazy and horrible. No bad things would ever happen if you would just do your job. Your fears, concerns, knowledge, experience and expertise are not valid. You just want to stay home and allow kids to suffer from the deadly pandemic that you caused. Get back in that building or else, you whiny little brat. We are all in this together. We are here to support you. This handy guide was made to set you up for the most successful year of your teaching career. You got this!

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Magister Bracey’s Stories!

I am announcing the addition of a “Stories” tab to this site.

Since it looks like we’re going to be working from home for quite some time, I wanted to help out in what little way I can. My goal is to add one original or adapted story for every day that we are out of school.

The stories will be short, fun, non-Classical and occasionally Classical.

Please feel free to copy, change, distribute and post these stories anywhere.

So click on the “Stories” tab and have fun!


Is My Latin Good Enough? Yes!

The number one reason that teachers give me for not pursuing a Comprehensible Input-based approach is that they are afraid that their Latin isn’t good enough to speak to or write for their students. These are well-educated professional Latin teachers who are petrified of uttering a word in Latin. Is their Latin good enough? Absolutely! So what is holding them back? I believe there to be a number of toxic ideas floating around the Latin-teaching community that are the culprit. Let’s name and debunk them once and for all, so that teachers can be free to speak and write in Latin with minimal fear.

If your Latin isn’t flawless, you will harm your students!

This argument is based on a mythological phenomenon called fossilization, which is the idea that languages are habits and that exposure to “incorrect” language will cause that “incorrect” language to become a bad habit. Everything about this argument and itS underlying premises are wrong. Encountering non native-like language has no impact on acquisition and does not impede one’s ability to understand native-like language.

Latin isn’t your first language and that’s okay. Communicate to the best of your ability and your students will benefit and enjoy.

Latin is a competitive sport. If you can’t keep up, don’t play!

While no one has ever uttered these particular words, they are far too often implied in Latin teacher discourse. “Have you heard so-and-so’s Latin? It’s really good. It’s way better than that other person’s Latin.” “There are lot of people out there publishing Latin of questionable quality, here is a list of the only good ones out there.” The emphasis on who is “good” vs. who is “bad” serves no one but the people who consider themselves elite Latin athletes. Everyone else gets intimidated and sits out.

The purpose of language is communication. As teachers, our job is to communicate with our students in Latin, not to assert our dominance over other Latin teachers. Our job is to give kids a positive experience in another language, not to train future competitive Latinists. The good news is that none of these competitive Latinists will ever set foot in your classroom, so why bother trying to please them?

Unless you are willing to expose yourself to brutal judgement and error-correction, your Latin will never be good enough.

The research on the negative impact of error-correction on language acquisition is vast, but that doesn’t stop people from insisting on its value. In fact, I have often heard people go as far as to suggest that constant error-correction is the ONLY way to gain proficiency in another language.

It’s not uncommon to find people in the language-teaching world making comments like “I’ve taught myself 40 different languages exclusively by forcing myself to speak to native speakers and insisting that they stop me and correct every error I make. If you’re serious about being a professional language teacher, you should WANT to subject yourself to this experience.” These types of comments tend to come after they have insisted upon publicly “correcting” the Latin of another teacher.

If you don’t welcome unsolicited criticism and error-correction from people, there is nothing wrong with you. It is considered extremely rude to correct a peer, especially in public! Pick up a book on social pragmatics for children and you’ll see that this kind of behavior is beneath the expectations of a small child, let alone an adult.

You do not need to put yourself in uncomfortable situations or accept inappropriate behavior to be worthy of speaking Latin to students.

If you can’t defend your word choices to the harshest of critics, your Latin isn’t good enough!

This toxic framework can be found in pretty much any online thread that starts with someone asking how to say something in Latin. They tend to go like this:

“How do you say Bob is mean in Latin?”

Comment 1: I would keep it simple and say Bob est crudelis.

Comment 148: Everyone who has posted is a moron and a disgrace to Latin. The ONLY correct way to say this in REAL Latin is Lucius saevitiam exercere solet. 

The impression left by these threads is that one needs to be able to build a court case to defend something like cupit vs. vult before daring to express desire in Latin.

We make choices when we write and speak Latin to students. Will all of them be perfect in the eyes of professional critics? No. Just remember that they are not your audience! Your job is to make yourself understood to your students.


If you had to summarize all of the aforementioned issues in one word, that word would be Latinitas.

Your Latin is good enough.

Speak to your students.

Write for your students.

Don’t let anyone stop you.

– Magister Bracey