Beth Hanlon, 2017-2018 OFLA President
Spanish Teacher, Oberlin High School
Happy 2017-2018 school year!
Let me ask you: What is your context? Dictionary.com defines context as “the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.” My context is a small city high school in between many small rural districts. My students are diverse and many deal with poverty. My context is not shared by many of my world language friends as they have their own unique context.
Within this new school year and within the context of your district, building, and classroom, what are your fresh starts, and new ideas and goals for this school year? Most importantly, how are they going to benefit the students in your classes?
Despite the differences in our context, we do share one as members of OFLA. As you continue through this school year, I hope that OFLA can support you, in whatever your context, to accomplish your 2017-2018 goals.
The OFLA board has geared up to provide many opportunities this school year in order to support you and your context! I would like to highlight a few of them. To begin the year, the extension workshop, entitled “Fall Into Context”, will take place at Lexington High School in early October. Throughout the year, the OFLA listserv is available to subscribers to connect and network. The OFLA Facebook page provides its followers with a steady stream of authentic resources. It is also nearing 2,000 followers; so make sure to “Like” the page to get us past that milestone! Additionally, the OFLA committee chairs also have projects planned that will result in opportunities for our members. As always, our culminating activity is the annual conference. The 2018 conference will be held April 5-7, 2018 at the Cleveland Marriott. We are excited to host our keynote speaker, Dr. Paul Toth, as well as featured speakers; Martina Bex and OFLA’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, Lisa Shepard. OFLA will also be working with the Cleveland International Film Festival to create an opportunity for teachers attending the conference.
Though OFLA is prepared to support you this school year in a variety of ways, make sure you keep your eyes and ears open for local professional development as well that will assist you in your context. Many teachers around our state are running professional learning networks and arranging workshops. Take advantage of things in your neck of the woods and if there isn’t something, have you ever considered starting something yourself? Be an advocate for your context!
I hope you all have a wonderful and productive school year in whichever context you are! I look forward to working with the OFLA membership and board, as well as our partners at the Ohio Department of Education, in order to serve the needs and goals of the outstanding and hardworking world language teachers in Ohio. But ultimately, I look forward to working with all stakeholders in order to increase the proficiency levels and love of learning languages of the students of Ohio.