Denise Broda, OFLA Scholarship Chair
Spanish Teacher, Wooster High School
Did you know that the Ohio Foreign Language Association offers scholarships to attend the annual conference and scholarships to help teachers study abroad? Do you want to attend the conference in Cleveland this spring, but you could use some help funding it? Every year, OFLA makes it possible for deserving university students and teachers in their first three years of teaching to earn a stipend to help pay for the costs of the conference registration, lodging, and meals. Following are reactions from some of last year’s recipients:
“The 2017 OFLA conference inspired me to continue growing in my practice as I completed my third year of teaching. I gained relevant and practical advice from the presenters that I was able to implement the following week. I left the conference feeling energized and eager to return from spring break, finish strong, and start working with the knowledge I gained to prepare for next year. The networking that occurs in our world language education community was the most beneficial part of the experience for me. I had an opportunity to meet and learn from other world language teachers from around the state, regardless of the language taught. It was reassuring to hear that both new and veteran teachers face many of the same challenges. I am still in contact with teachers whom I met at my first OFLA conference several years ago.
Thanks again for the great experience.”
Marysville Early College High School
“Last year was my second year teaching and my second year attending the OFLA conference. I try to attend as many language workshops and conferences as I can throughout the year. Scholarships, like the one OFLA offers, make that possible. I hold an alternative teaching license for world languages. I do not have a background in education. So, it’s even more important to me to see language instruction in action as well as the different techniques teachers use in the classroom. Attending these conferences is invaluable. I am very appreciative for OFLA and similar organizations that provide resources to enhance educators’ efforts. ”
In addition to scholarships for the OFLA Conference, our organization offers one stipend for a study abroad experience, and it facilitates another one for the Cemanahuac Educational Community in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Last year’s recipient enthuses:
“I was delighted when I won the a scholarship through the Ohio Foreign Language Association to study at the Cemanahuac Educational Community of Cuernavaca, Mexico. Was further delighted to find out that there was a two-week program exclusively for educators. Although my expectations were high, my experience was even better than I imagined. I attended classes, stayed with a host family, and participated in organized trips both in Cuernavaca and to other towns. Perhaps best of all, I was able to meet passionate Spanish teachers from all over the United States. The teachers and staff were kind and helpful and the class sizes were small and adapted to my level and interests. They also were tireless in planning activities that were enriching to us as teachers, such as a field trip to an educational center in a rural town, a trip to a teacher supply store, opportunities for intercambios, and much more.
I think for many safety is a concern when considering a trip to Mexico. I took basic precautions such as guarding my purse in public and not walking alone late at night. That being said, I never felt unsafe. Everyone I interacted with was kind and helpful and no one made me feel uneasy for any reason. The staff was there to help us feel comfortable in our surroundings and to answer any questions that we had about this issue. Please do not avoid this wonderful country because of safety concerns!
Another great thing about the Cemanahuac Educational Community is its location. Cuernavaca was surprisingly large, with a nice central plaza and historical sites. It is about an hour south of Mexico City. This allowed us to take a field trip into Mexico City and another field trip to see the fabulous pyramids of Teotihuacan. Because of this proximity, it was easy for me to extend my stay for a few days and explore Mexico City on my own. Mexico City is beautiful with many attractions. I am so glad that I decided to do this.”
The OFLA scholarship benefitted me in many ways. One was that I was able to stay in a hotel and collaborate with a colleague from college who I otherwise would not have been able to connect with on Thursday night. Because of the scholarship, I was able to comfortably map out my day in order to choose the best sessions for my needs. Another way that the scholarship helped was providing me with a job to accomplish during the second day of the conference, which led me to meeting and talking with other language teachers about shared issues. A final way that I was able to collaborate was to speak with a colleague that I met two years ago who has helped me tremendously. I am beyond thankful for the opportunities afforded me by the OFLA scholarship, and I support future first year teachers being granted it.
There are so many benefits to being an OFLA member and attending the conference or taking advantage of scholarships for professional development abroad. Take the time to read through the scholarship opportunities on our page below, and start your applications ASAP:
https://ofla-online.org/awards/ Scroll down to “Scholarships.”
I look forward to seeing everyone at the conference or other professional development opportunities this year.