Susan Colville-Hall, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, The University of Akron
I am most humbled by the recognition given to me by such a prestigious group of individuals, teachers and educators, my colleagues and friends, my peers. Thank you OFLA Board and thank you OFLA members.
About 47 years ago, I attended my first foreign language conference in Ohio. I was lucky because I learned from mentors early on about the importance and empowerment of attending professional conferences. I am forever indebted to June Gilliam, my mentor from Cleveland Heights, and to Dr. Edward Allen, my methods professor. Those professional meetings in the Ohio Union at OSU and the 1968 AATF meeting in Detroit really left an indelible impression on me and have stayed with me my entire life.
In the years since I thoroughly enjoyed my role as a classroom teacher in private and public institutions and as a teacher educator at the University of Akron. But I have to say the learning was and is a two way street. We now know that students teach their teachers a great deal. And I have learned a great deal over the 45 years I have spent in the profession. Now that I have more time, I have reconnected to students I had in the 70s thanks to Facebook and hope to connect to others. And I especially look forward to seeing former students at conferences like OFLA’s.
I am particularly fond of the years I served on the OFLA Board and camaraderie that resulted from my service to the profession. I encourage every one of you to find a way to serve as a board member, as an OFLA volunteer, as a NEOLA steering committee member or otherwise. You will come away with so much more in professional development than you will give.
Looking at the wide variety of offerings in 2014 OFLA Conference program, the excitement that all attendees brought to the conference, and the great organization of this body, I know that I can retire knowing that foreign languages in Ohio are in good hands.
But, I do have one request of all of you who are K-12 teachers: Please find a way to welcome a student teacher in your classroom or to mentor a new teacher in your district. It’s the best way to guarantee the future of our profession. And with the complications that teacher evaluations add to your busy and stressed life, we know it is easy to say “no.” But we need you to say “yes.” We need great mentors and classrooms where young teachers can learn and grow professionally.
Thank you for the wonderful time in this profession. I have enjoyed working with you and look forward to hearing about the wonderful things you are doing.
Thank you all,