On this first day of vacation, I have been doing a lot of reflecting. I was walking the dog, and I remembered this post that I did two years ago. It was a very impersonal “thank you“ to people who have made my teaching life easier/more fulfilling. I feel like it’s time to add to and reinforce that list. So here are the members of this year's #IAmThankfulFor list:
Justin Slocum Bailey
Justin is one of two people whose energy I try to channel when I teach. (You’ll find the other next on this list.) His extraordinary ability to connect with people makes him not only an incredible teacher, but an amazing presenter and just an overall phenomenal human being. I am lucky to have him in my life. Thank you, Justin.
I don’t think I will ever meet anyone as thoughtful and kind as Grant. His calm energy is something I always try to embrace and internalize in the classroom, especially when my crazy energy wants to take over. It is a joy to watch him teach, and I highly recommend it if you ever have the chance. I wish I could spend more time with him.
Thank you, Grant
For those of you in the iFLT/NTPRS/Ci Teaching Facebook group, you surely know Angie’s name. She is forever sharing what she works on, and she spends a lot of time thinking and reflecting on her practice. She is a dear, dear friend, and despite only being an hour away from each other, we don’t see each other enough. Nonetheless I truly value her friendship, insight, and support. She has helped me process so much, and I’m not quite sure where I’d be today without her. Thank you, Angie.
You know when you were a kid and you went to summer camp and you didn't want the time to end? That's the way I felt two years ago after my week with Anny (and Kirsten Plante) in 2018 at the Altamira/Dynamic Language teacher trainer prep. Not only was the setting beautiful, and the group of people extraordinary, but she has become for me an important person whose advice I seek and friendship I value. Thank you, Anny.
Tina is one of the most hard-working people I know. She has poured so much of her time and energy and love into helping teachers. Her Curriculum Club has been a savior for so many teachers out there, and I relish the time we get to spend together. It doesn’t happen often enough, but I still know what a truly amazing human being she is. Thank you, Tina.
Leslie Kronemeyer (you can see her in the picture above with Anny!!)
I haven’t been able to see Leslie teach, but I just love her as a person. She is being recognized all over the place, be in her own state of New Jersey, or on the national conference stage. I’ll never forget the first times I spent with her, and how meaningful our conversations were. Your students are lucky to have you as their teacher. Thank you, Leslie.
Vermont is not quite the same without Elissa in it. She has relocated to New York and that makes me sad, but she will always have a place in the Green Mountain State. I have always enjoyed working with Elissa and Express Fluency, be it during weekend immersion classes at her incredible space in Brattleboro or our August teacher training. Elissa's sweet soul and generosity are second to none, and I always feel full of heart after I talk to her.
I wouldn't be where I am in my teaching, or in my life, without my dear friend Ginny. Our journeys have taken us, and VFLA, to so many places. It has been a pleasure and a joy to work with her and to reflect back on all that we have accomplished. To say I love Ginny is to put it lightly. Thank you, Ginny.
There’s nothing in the world like a Teri Wiechart smile-it exudes warmth, happiness, and love. I was honored to be on the iFLT team this past July in St. Petersburg, Florida and work along side her. Teri is someone I would love to go on a week long vacation with, and maybe someday that will happen. Her generosity, caring, and wisdom have touched so many people, including me. Thank you, Teri.
Allison Litten, the 2019 VFLA TOY, teaches French at the Marion Cross School, a public PreK-6 school in Norwich, Vermont. This is her twenty-third year teaching, and twentieth at Marion Cross.