Faculty author offers roadmap to authentic teaching

Upper School World Languages Faculty Allynn Lodge is grateful to those individuals who’ve helped her to become a better teacher, and she hopes her newly published book will pay that collegial support forward. 

The book, “A Teacher's Guide to Our Story: Making the Move to Story-Based Teaching,” is a companion manual to Our Story, a story-based textbook series published by Voces Digital and used in all levels of the Academy’s French and Spanish classes. Lodge’s 292-page guide is described as “part ‘how-to’ manual, part personal narrative, (and) part invitation,” addressing ideas related to teaching through the use of stories and the Our Story curriculum. The book includes a catalog of classroom activities, assessment ideas, and guidance for teaching about grammar and culture; it also offers ideas on how to teach world languages, build student proficiency, and connect with students. 

“I’ve been so fortunate to benefit from the guidance of mentor teachers at various points in my career,” said Lodge, who was this week’s guest of honor at the book’s kickoff party hosted virtually by her publisher. “I can think of key individuals who lit up a path for me when I felt unsure of myself or mentally blocked.” 

And she hopes this book will have the same effect. “I want teachers who purchase it to feel like they've got a friend in their corner, helping them along and offering them a roadmap to follow.” 

But Lodge, who was recently selected by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) as a Teacher of the Future for her innovation and creativity in the classroom, is quick to point out that manuals, however helpful, don’t teach; teachers do. 

“There's a quote from educator Parker Palmer that I included in my book that goes like this: ‘You don't become a good teacher by using the latest hot methodologies that are being promoted in this or that handbook. The teachers who have had the most impact are the ones whose 'selfhoods' have been deeply invested in what they are doing.’”

And that, said Lodge, is the larger goal of the guide. “I want to encourage teachers to bring their full, authentic selves to the classroom, knowing that they have a useful resource manual they can turn to whenever they need a little guidance or inspiration.” 

Lodge has contributed stories and activities to the Our Story Spanish series and has even served as a presenter for the publisher’s signature online summer Teacher Bootcamp. She called the online format “dynamic and effective” but wants her book to be, as she put it, “a paper-based guide that would take the myriad ideas being presented and organize them into a chapter-based manual: something that teachers could read on their own time, highlight, dog-ear, and put on their desks as a trusty companion.” 

Head of School Chris Fortunato P ‘26, ‘28 praised Lodge’s writing success and her goal to inspire fellow teachers to bring their authentic selves to the classroom. 

"We're proud and excited to work with teachers like Allynn who not only put students first in their work every day but also strive to serve as curricular and pedagogical leaders at Thayer and beyond,” said Fortunato. “We congratulate her on her new book.” 

A veteran world languages teacher at the Academy who has taught at both the Upper School and Middle School, Lodge earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish languages and cultures from Princeton University before earning her Master of Education degree in art in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Madrid, Spain, and is passionate about how both language and art can help to forge connections and mutual understanding between cultures. 

Thayer Academy Allyn Lodge Book 1

“I want teachers who purchase it to feel like they've got a friend in their corner,” said Upper School World Languages Faculty Allynn Lodge, referring to her recently published teacher’s guide. 

Thayer Academy Allyn Lodge Book 2

“A Teacher’s Guide to Our Story,” written by Upper School World Languages Faculty Allynn Lodge. 


 

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