President’s Message

Jenny Delfini

NYSAFLT family: We are tired. The past two years have tested the professional community of teachers around the world, and especially here in New York. We have been online, masked up in the classroom, and both at the same time. We have looked forward to events that were then canceled or changed in unexpected ways. We have been told that things were returning to normal, only to have everything tossed and turned upside down all over again. It has been overwhelming. It can be easy to withdraw, to lose interest, to push the outside away. 

And still we teach. We teach because we love languages, we love the different and varied cultures found in our world, we love inspiring the next generation to meet and befriend people from those cultures, we love seeing the world improve as our students’ views change. We teach because we know the important value of what we do; with new standards at the state level, our task has been renewed, validated and energized by the state’s Department of Education, with hours of work from NYSAFLT past president, Candie Black, and her executive committee of NYSAFLT members Lori Langer de Ramirez, Bill Heller, and fellow past president Dr. Joanne O’Toole.

Schools are a place of support, love, and hope for students right now. World language teachers in New York have a similar system in NYSAFLT. Whether in person or online, NYSAFLT is a beacon of connection and professional sustenance. Seeing my colleagues and fellow members from all over the state in Syracuse this past October was almost as gratifying as getting my vaccine. The connections, old and new, were genuine and reciprocal. The sessions were relevant, the presenters candid and warm. The in-between conversations were the best

We understand that there are still obstacles to having these experiences and feeling comfortable at conferences. NYSAFLT has been a resource for quality professional development for years, and 2021 was no exception, from the spring NYSA-Fair chaired by Swaz and Marissa, to Marissa’s Summer Institute online, and of course the live conference in October. We continued to offer virtual workshops, upgrading from the former presenter-only format to a model of true interaction in Zoom. 

We teach. Regardless of the current statistics of COVID cases in my district, regardless of the TikTok challenges that are circulating, regardless of my co-workers’ (and my own) passing pessimism of the moment… I teach because I am rewarded by my students’ successes and continued love to learn about the world through Spanish. I find my energy and passion to continue when I reach out to my NYSAFLT family, via email, text, or Zoom breakout room in a workshop.

NYSAFLT’s board of directors and executive committee are constantly reassessing and changing events to reflect health measures but to also provide experiences that are relevant and meaningful for you, our colleagues and fellow members. We want to connect you with others who share your strengths, your concerns, and your passion for what you do. I personally hope that you will tell us when we are – or are not – meeting your needs as an organization.

How will you connect with colleagues in 2022? Will you register for a virtual workshop? Will you attend your regional organization’s conference? Will you be a part of the Summer Institute in August, or submit a proposal for October in Rochester? Will you apply for a scholarship for a classroom project, or for travel?

The NYSAFLT family is one of my favorite groups of professionals, and we are here for you in 2022. We hope you’ll take part in one or more of our many offerings. We hope you will invite a friend into the fold of our family. We hope you will continue to give students the best of world language instruction. 

Best wishes for a calm, safe, and productive 2022.

Jenny Delfini

Beth Slocum