03 April 2017

The Company You Keep: A love letter to #FLENJ17

Dear FLENJ,

I'm not a girl who needs to be wined and dined to feel loved--elegant sushi certainly doesn't hurt, of course. Plush hotel toilets accommodations aren't what bring me back either.

It is the sheer quality of people you let me be around for a weekend.

Now don't get me wrong, my SCOLT amigos and I have something that can never be severed. They are old, true friends I can always count on, and they are what keeps me going most of the time. I'm not saying what I feel for you is any less enduring, but us "southerners," we have history.

That being said, FLENJ, this past weekend was MAGICAL.

It started as soon as I hit the hotel, and immediately fell into one of those conversations about the direction of language education and our profession that gives you hope for the future and revives your passion for sharing, with one of the unquestionable leaders in the field--and finalists for ACTFL Teacher of the Year no less!

The next evening, I stayed up way later than I should have discussing the true meaning of comprehensible input, with another leader and ACTFL finalist who is also the guy who not only helped me create input that made my students feel confident in their listening abilities, but who also made me feel confident about communicating comprehensibly with them daily.

I got to talk families, philosophy, accordions and soap making with some of the most creative and dedicated people I've had the pleasure to #langchat or Hangout with ever. (PS do you REALIZE how many of us have  two kids ages 4-9? It's creepy cool.)

What's more, is I got to gather other educators who love learning and sharing as much as I do in my workshops and plug into their brilliant ideas.



And THEN I got to gather around OTHER brilliant educators and feed off of their experience and ingenuity as well! I've got quite a few ideas to pilot before next year!

Awesome ideas from Arianne Dowd of Discovering CI, Noemi Rodriguez (via Casey McCullough) and Ericka Collado 


And you guys, I salsa danced with Sr. Wooly.



I gotta say, though, I think the FLENJ president, Amanda, was better.

And the selfies! Now they didn't know about my secret unpublished pickmeup posts when we smooshed into the frame together, but I got physical evidence of the moments when I got to share space with people whose words of support I have carefully collected, because there are times that I really need those words from these bright and caring people, low points in my teacher life that I need them to not hate myself.

FLENJ, you have a lot of amazing people doing amazing things within your organization, and you invited even MORE amazing leaders in to really stack the deck.

And you let me be there for it. You brought me in to the awesomeness.

And for that, I love you more than words can say.


Con amor eterno,
Sra. Spanglish

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