Language Sensei

A Language Teacher's Journey

“I’m not doing enough!!!!” Learning to Say “Yes I Am…”



Oh I love Twitter and #langchat. It has revolutionized my teaching. Really it has. It has challenged me, helped me and sometimes (okay more than sometimes) pushed me to ‘stretch’. But with growth comes, I’ll be frank, panic. Sometimes I feel very very inadequate compared to what other people are sharing/advocating/leading on #langchat. Sometimes I feel like there are not enough hours in the day to ‘change everything’. Sometimes I feel that I am not doing “enough”. That some teachers are way ahead of me in how they teach. That some teachers appear to “know” when I don’t.

And then I have to sit back and take stock. This is a pep talk for me. This is to tell myself that I am adapting and changing because I am inspired to. That I am shifting away from the textbook, am writing my own CI stories, am attempting to add TPRS to my teaching, am working on more formative feedback and more. This is me doing all this BUT I also need to have a life. I need to sleep. I need to make time for my husband, family and friends. I need to be a person.

Could I be doing ‘more’? Yes. Quite frankly I could rewrite everything and never sleep. But I can’t. I know that I am not at my best when I am tired and stressed. I know that my classes are not at their optimal learning when their teacher is worried more about ‘how’ we are doing something and not why.

So this is for me remember. The fact that I am worried about not ‘changing’ my practice for the better means I am actually changing my practice for the better. If I wasn’t worried, if I didn’t question the why/how of my teaching, if I didn’t make any changes then to me that would be a sign of ‘no-growth’. I know I am not that…so, to me the panicked person, I say:

“It’s okay not to be ‘all that’ right now….Remember the adage that slow and steady wins the race? Well that’s okay for you as you grow your teaching!”

So I will continue to share and be inspired by my amazing #langchat colleagues. But I will also take time and not panic if I think I’m not doing ‘enough’. And maybe you’ll realize that that’s okay for you too!

Yours in change – but “I can have a life change”,


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  1. Thank you!! I needed this reminder too!

  2. Thank you for saying what I was feeling. After I read other CI / TPRS teacher’s blogs and posts, I sometimes feel I am not doing enough. I also have to realize that I am still fairly new to this having only switched from the textbook 3 years ago.

  3. Thanks Chasati – I think we ALL feel this way sometimes. And on a positive note I think we feel this way because we ‘care’ and because we want to be the most effective teachers we can. If we didn’t feel this way – we’d never try to innovate! Hang in there – the #langchat community is such an awesome place to grow! Colleen

  4. Your honesty is inspiring. Thank you for this blogpost and others! At conferences when I am on inspiration overload I have to remind myself that each presenter is sharing only their best ideas. They still have weaknesses like everyone else that they try to improve each year. And most importantly, no one’s journey can be compared to another’s. So much of our unnecessary pressure is self-inflicted anyways!

  5. Thank you Charlotte – it is inspiring that what was key for me is also important to others…we are NOT alone in this profession!

  6. Thanks Robin – I have been so inspired and guided by the #langchat community and teachers like you….thanks for all of the sharing and support that you do! Colleen

  7. This is why I love workshops with Dr. Helena Curtain. She gives you a crazy amount of information but she starts with “You are already changing lives.” And she ends with “What do I do now with all of this? I make changes…one tiny step at a time.” I always remind myself of that slide in her power point anytime I get overwhelmed. Great post!

  8. Oh I like those quotes….I’m going to put those above my computer so I’ll see them the next time I worry!! Thanks for sharing all that you do on #langchat!! Colleen

  9. This is such truth–one of my goals this year is: “Don’t stress out!” I so often want to “do all the things,” but I am unable to do that and have any semblance of a life outside of school.

    I am so thankful for bloggers like you and the #langchat community who are always so encouraging.

  10. Thank you so very much. I am literally making myself crazy and seem to currently adopted the practice of self torture I’m trying to be “all that”. I needed this perspective and pep talk.

  11. I am more than thankful for the #langchat community…how amazing it is in supporting us all. And I like to know that we all – no matter how many years we have taught etc., struggle with to balance the desire to improve with the desire to have a life outside of teaching!

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