Welcome back MALT members! I am not really sure where summer went, but mine certainly disappeared quickly, and now here we are finishing our first full month of school! I hope that each of you are off to a great start and looking forward to all of the activity that comes with a new school year. Personally, I have always loved the beginning of the year, and I hope that I am projecting that excitement to my students. For all of you, I hope that your classrooms are filled with enthusiastic students, eager to use their language skills every day.
Speaking of excitement, another yearly ritual is also right around the corner - the annual Educator Conference! This year the convention is in Billings on October 18th and 19th. The MALT Board is very excited to have Megan Hambrick lead our full day workshop on Thursday, and Friday’s schedule is loaded with many other opportunities to learn from our colleagues from across the state. No matter if you have been teaching more than 20 years or you are just entering your second month in the profession, there will be plenty of new ideas for you to take home and try out in your classroom in the weeks following the convention.
The Teacher’s Convention also gives us the opportunity to recognize some of our colleagues for the work they do in the classroom or for their contributions to our association. Our national affiliate, ACTFL, honors a Teacher of the Year at their annual convention, and each of those honorees were recognized by their state associations before achieving national recognition. MALT has not always been consistent in nominating a colleague for this award. Two years ago, Lisa Werner encouraged us to start a process to honor excellence in the classroom, and for two years we have done just that, bestowing Teacher of the Year honors on Erika Shupe in 2016, and Kerri Hiatt in 2017. Who will be our nominee in 2018? We want your input to help us with that decision.
As a Board we are trying to streamline the nomination process. Teacher of the Year candidates do have quite a bit of paperwork that needs to be submitted to the PNCFL committee before January 31st, so nominating that candidate at the Convention is very important in order to give our candidate enough time to gather their materials. We want this to become part of our yearly agenda, and hope that members look forward to having the opportunity to honor their colleagues. To be eligible for this award, the candidate has had to be a member of MALT/PNCFL for the past three consecutive years. The Teacher of the Year candidate also has to teach for at least one more calendar year to be eligible for the ACTFL award. Last year the board also decided that the nominee has to be a someone who is not currently a member of the executive board. We want all of you to tell us who you think is an outstanding member of our profession. To help you select a candidate, we will have a list of members who meet the eligibility requirements available at the end of this week, and then a final chance to vote for your choice during the business meeting on Thursday.
The second award that needs a nominee is for Outstanding Contributions to World Languages. Our winners for the past two years have been Debbie Kelly in 2016 and Lynette Pottenger in 2017. Both of these women were then also recognized as the winners of the Outstanding Contributions award for the PNCFL region. Nominees for this award do not have to teach beyond the current school year, so it would be a great way to honor one of our colleagues who might be retiring at the end of the school year.
So, MALT members, be thinking about your colleagues who really make a difference in teaching World Languages in our state. Do their students excel? Does this candidate mentor younger teachers to help them become more proficient? Is this candidate a great spokesperson for our organization? Please help us name our Montana award winners for 2018. See you all at the convention!
- Alice Nation, MALT President