In school, out of school, hybrid learning, rotating schedules, quarantining and close contacts- Oh my! As we finish up one of the most trying school years in recent history I have spent a great deal reflecting on the 20-21 school year. This academic year brought a myriad of emotions, struggles and joys. As I look back on one of the most historic years in recent history I am reminded time and again of the importance of a learning community. As the outgoing CT COLT Language Teacher of the Year, I would like to take this opportunity to showcase the many joys that have come from this year’s struggles. Over the past year I was given the privilege to represent COLT at various conferences, virtual meetings and events. I have found this experience to be both professionally rewarding as well as personally gratifying. The one thing I have come to realize is the idea that language teaching, leading and advocacy take a village. This job is not an individual experience but rather a team endeavor built on collaboration, trust and support. Here are a few of my takeaways as your Coronavirus Teacher of the Year…
- Batman and Robin??! Even better, the dynamic duo of Amanda Robustelli-Price and Rebecca Aubrey! These two women were my mentors, my friends and my loudest cheerleaders throughout every step of this trying year. As I look back on this year I will forever be grateful for their expert guidance, their honest enthusiasm and their (ridiculous!!!!) knack for bringing the best out of each and every one of us.
- The Executive Board made magic happen! CT COLT was a pioneer in virtual learning offering an incredible online conference for world language educators in our state and beyond.
- CT COLT learned to roll with the punches- if being together was not an option Michelle Nicklas, Robin Bertrand and their team brought learning to YOU. The Sunday “Tips of the Week” were a huge success, offering anytime learning to accommodate every schedule.
- The Poetry Recitation, the Rhyme Celebration and the Poster Contest survived (and grew!) despite the obstacles imposed by distance learning. Matt Mangino, John Rook, Beth Lapman, Melissa Tubbs, Kristen Tagg, Christi Moraga, Marisa Lewis and their team of experts made sure our students were given every opportunity to enjoy CT COLT events.
- CT COLT did not forget about the importance of camaraderie! Magali Hannegan hosted an amazing world language happy hour creating a space for teachers to support each other outside the virtual classroom.
- Tara Van Haelen-Smith and Joseph Parodi-Brown kept us informed on social media, always going the extra mile to highlight the positive aspects of the 20-21 school year!
- The CT COLT Future Teachers National Honors Society was turned into a virtual success due to the dedication of Linda Dalpe and Aileen Dever.
- Jimmy Wildman and Jessica Haxhi continue to support all students and teachers in the state through their work supporting the Seal of Biliteracy.
- Maureen Lamb and her tech-savvy squad delighted educators from all levels with the fully-virtual edition Edcamp CT COLT 2021. This event continues to offer personalized professional development for all.
- Jill Griswold and Michele Back worked diligently to grow membership and to work on advocacy strategies to meet the needs of our learning community.
- Kathleen Archibald and Lea Graner Kennedy seamlessly organized the online Summer Proficiency Institute with Greg Duncan reminding us that life-long learning is a strong trait among our CT COLT family.
- Signe Damdar and her team spend tireless hours perfecting the CT COLT newsletter. The publication gives all our members an opportunity to have a voice in the world language community.
- Judith Ojeda and her enthusiastic group of educators recognized the hard work of our students sending out hundreds of certifications and awards through the CT COLT Student Awards for Excellence.
Look at these amazing accomplishments! This list is just a fraction of the hard work and diligence that defines the CT COLT board, organizational directors and coordinators. Many of you may not see your name on this list, please know I appreciate YOU as well! I would like to thank each of you for your dedication and commitment to the teaching profession; you have been the village that has helped raise so many wonderful world language teachers and students. I am honored to pass the Teacher of the Year title over to the 2021/2022 winner; our CT COLT community just keeps getting better! I wish you a summer filled with whatever feeds your soul, your mind and your heart. I am looking forward to working together in the future!