WHY DOES YOUR OFLA MEMBERSHIP MATTER?

Lucas Hoffman, OFLA Executive Treasurer
French/Spanish Teacher, Sylvania High School

There are many reasons to join a non-profit organization, be they to connect with other like-minded professionals, to support other colleagues, or to advance the profession.  

During this past year, your membership dues have been just as important as ever.  Even though the way we connect as colleagues may look very different from a few years ago, OFLA still has the task of advocating for our profession at the local, state, and national levels.  Together, as an organization, OFLA has the network and the funding to make a larger impact that individual teachers likely can.  

So how does OFLA help advocate for our profession? Along with the very familiar opportunities to advocate for better world language teaching and learning (like our annual conference which should return next year!), OFLA has several other projects.  Do you know about any of them?

Every two years, OFLA identifies and financially supports an “emerging leader” to attend the National Leadership Institute for Language Learning.  It’s basically an incubator for future world language teachers.  It’s an opportunity for some of Ohio’s next leaders to meet the next leaders from across the country and make action plans to bring back to Ohio.  These future leaders are also trained in national best practices which they can also bring back to our Ohio world language teachers.  Your membership dues help train future leaders.

Your OFLA leaders make sure that Ohio has a seat at the regional and national tables by attending the CSCTFL and ACTFL Delegate Assemblies.  As a team of regional and national leaders, they advance the profession through a variety of means:  crafting position statements, problem-solving the national teacher shortage, advocating for favorable legislative changes (such as the adoption of the Ohio Seal of Biliteracy), and defending our position.  Your membership dues ensure that Ohio has a voice in these regional and national conversations.

Did you know that OFLA is currently fighting to defend our place in Ohio schools?  There is a proposed amendment being discussed by the State Board of Education that will eliminate the world language requirement for Ohio schools.  We are rallying volunteers to speak to BOE members, writing letters of support, organizing future public relations initiatives, and gaining support from Ohio educators across disciplines.  Your membership dues ensure that OFLA has money to travel and attend meetings, create educational literature, and watch upcoming legislative changes.

Have you noticed that there are fewer teacher candidates entering the profession?  OFLA too has taken notice of this issue.  We have recently created a teacher-recruitment and retention committee that is working with ODE to open pathways to purposefully identify and support high school students who would be excellent future language teachers.  Your membership dues mean that OFLA has the funding to develop projects and to recruit for the future of our profession.

OFLA supports university students and beginning teachers by offsetting the cost of attending our annual conference.  Additionally, OFLA offers grant money to help a member with a classroom project.  

OFLA also forwards part of your membership dues on to join larger organizations like CSCTFL, ACTFL, or JNCL-NCLIS.  These organizations have the capacity to put on larger gatherings, to get to meet with our Secretary of Education, update our national standards, identify and support research priority areas, put world language teachers and students in congressional offices to speak with legislators in Washington, D.C., and advance our profession in many other ways.