Story Owl

Wayside Publishing is excited to launch “Story Owl,” a new platform enabling world language educators to share their meaningful stories. We aim to showcase stories about fellow teachers who succeed despite challenges or who find humor in difficult times, so we can strengthen the world language community and foster more compassionate schools. Our current theme is:

It Seems Foreign - Stories of Teaching World Language During a Pandemic

The largest global health crisis in a century is changing the way we educate. From working remotely to teaching in socially-distanced classrooms, the pandemic has brought new and unique stressors and threats to our wellbeing. Story Owl seeks to honor your teaching stories reflecting this critical moment in history.

Story ideas to get you started:

  1. The pandemic has changed my life as a world language teacher by …
  2. COVID-19 arrived in my classroom. Here is what happened …
  3. I had the funniest experience recently when one of my students …
  4. Sometimes I feel like the mayor of upside-down town. The other day …
  5. You know, I didn't sign up for this. But I feel hopeful because …

Your stories matter! Stories can be in written, audio, or video format. We review every uploaded story, and if we think your story is relevant and engaging, we might post it in an email, on social media, or on our website. Discover the power of your own voice. Tell us your story. We are listening.

Storytelling Tips:

  • Your story must be non-fiction and related to the current Story Owl theme. Video or audio recordings have a suggested length of five minutes long, with a two-minute grace period. Written stories have a suggested length of roughly 1,000 words.
  • Start with a great opening line, and in the action. Set the hook and reel us in. What did you stand to win or lose? Why is the outcome important to you?
  • Reading from a script makes for a boring story. Jot down some bullet points and then play with the details. Have fun!
  • Avoid identifying information about specific individuals. Use substitute names when describing others. Avoid fake accents, stereotypes, racial slurs, homophobia, misogyny, or any form of hate speech.

Pro Audio and Video Tips:

  • If video recording using a smartphone or tablet, turn it sideways to record in landscape mode.
  • Record with the camera eye level, and line up your face with the top 1/3 of the screen.
  • Be aware of the scene behind and around you. Avoid clutter and include objects that reflect who you are.
  • Make sure your scene has plenty of front light and avoid back light. Try facing a window, or point a soft light toward your face.
  • Avoid wearing solid black, solid white, or stripes.
  • Speak clearly. Make sure your story can be heard loud and strong.

Click here for additional great tips on presenting from home.

Let's get started!


Your story has been uploaded and is awaiting our review. Thank you for your participation.