Do you want to know what Michele Whaley did yesterday?
She took a personal day to attend an Alaska Native Studies conference that I roped her into attending with me. A personal day–you know, one of those days that allows you to go get a mani/pedi when you’re supposed to be at work? I didn’t attend, by the way, because my childcare fell through last minute–some AFLA President I am! So Michele attended solo, using one of her precious personal days, in order to share information about AFLA, our state language teaching organization, with attendees from across the state representing diverse fields (government, education, native corporations, etc.). She was texting me all day: “This is so fascinating!” “I just met this amazing person!” “I just connected with _!” “Look at this clip from a demo I’m in right now!”. Not only that, but she offered to do a TPRS® demo as the first day of sessions concluded. She left a little early to teach her after school class, hurriedly put together a demo and copied AFLA conference flyers, and rushed back to the conference in time to squeeze in a 20 minute demo and share information about our fall conference before racing off to a performance with her musical group.
Folks, THAT is what a love for languages–and language teaching–looks like. Michele lives, breathes, eats, and sleeps language teaching and advocacy. Every conversation I have with her is dripping with an excitement for breakthroughs in her teaching and in our profession, a curiosity for new strategies and theories, and a passion to reach every one of her students. If you need a clearer picture, then you need to read this article that Michele wrote back in 2009. (If you’ve read it before, it will be just as impactful the second…or third…or fourth…time!)
Michele Whaley is the 2016 PNCFL Finalist for the ACTFL Teacher of the Year competition, and I am honored to call her my Teacher Mama and friend. Thank you, Michele, for stepping up yesterday and attending the conference without me. You are truly one of my greatest blessings!