Couch conversations from ACTFL: A conference in sound bytes
Your turkey is digested and your shopping is all done. Now, are you ready for a shocking confession?
Last week at the 2015 ACTFL Convention & Expo in San Diego, California, I was not able to attend a single session other than the ones I collaborated on. Shocking, I know. Part of the reason was that I spent some time at the Calico Spanish booth talking about that elementary curriculum with teachers. Part of the reason was my couch conversations. I did not attend a session that was listed in the program, but I got to sit for an hour and talk with Donna Clementi (I would have flown all the way to San Diego just to have that talk). 45 minutes around lunch with Linda Egnatz. A chat and my brand new copy of Languages and Learners (thank you AdvanceLearning!) signed by Helena Curtain. Learning-packed strolls with my friends Bethanie Carlson-Drew, John Cadena, Amy Lenord, Don Doehla, and too many more to count. Dinner with the globally-minded crew from VIF International Education. And some new names and faces to help me on my journey: Bobby Hobgood and Stayc Dubravac, thank you so much for taking time to chat with me. A shout-out as well to Tana Luptak, Kathryn Haggquist, and Shannon Norquist – you are asking all the best questions and you are going to contribute amazing things to this profession; I’m honored to learn with you and that you would consider me helpful. Thanks Lourdes (not Ortega) for making the flight into San Diego less terrifying for this phobic woman with a university language program couch conversation, and grazie Marco the bourbon-bottle-filling-machine fixer on his fourth day in the U.S. for teaching me to say “Good evening, I’m Sara, nice to meet you,” in Italian on the last flight home. And to the woman who came up to me for the express purpose of crying with me over my precious memories of my precious father, bless you as well.
Without further ado, I want to share with you some nuggets of wisdom tucked away in my head from ACTFL participants who inspired, engaged, and transformed me. As John says, let’s be a family, shall we? #langfamilyvalues!
First from Amy, in a conversation about ending hero worship, and banning the words “groupie” “fan girl” and the like that are so honoring and well-meant but we frankly aren’t comfortable on that pedestal. I’m just a Spanish teacher who tries some things and they absolutely fall flat and I try other things and they’re absolute home runs and then I write about all that and more on the internet. But believe me, I have learned as much from many of you as you may have learned from me. “YES!” said Amy, and then…
And finally, from the Kentucky World Language Association’s Postsecondary Teacher of the Year, Stayc Dubravac, who, when I put him on the spot, commented on an unwillingness among his preservice teachers to participate in professional development, and said…
Thank you, langfamily.