I started my language learning journey in high school and it took me all the way to one of the best jobs I could ever ask for. Stops along the way include Chile (See attached image of long-haired college me), México with my future wife to see her family, and hopefully many more adventures to come. My goal as a teacher is to take these amazing things I’ve learned and use them to give my students the same opportunities I had.
While I am only on my second year of teaching, I have been surrounded for years with great influences in language education. It began as a student in Spanish I at Westmoore High School where I now teach Spanish III & V Literature. My favorite part about being a teacher is the constant interaction with my students and as a language teacher the opportunities for connecting with students in a meaningful way are endless. I learned about teaching language as a student at Oklahoma State University, but I started to dial in my lessons and strategies at OFLTA conferences. There is not a better place for language teachers to share and expand on their ideas than at these conferences.
Although there are many aspects to acquiring a language, I believe that culture and language are two things that cannot be separated. My presentation is a short example of how I teach about the culture of a given country while staying in the target language. Sometimes as language teachers we can view culture and language as two different kinds of lessons. If we use comprehensible input as well as the other amazing strategies shared at OFLTA conferences, there is no reason we should ever have to separate the two.
Westmoore High School
Moore Public Schools
Hola! I am Shelley Overholt and teach high school Spanish at Tuttle High School. I call myself the accidental Spanish teacher. I received my degree in Elementary Education and took Spanish for fun because I loved the language. I ended up with a minor in Spanish. When I received my assignment for student teaching, my college had assigned me to a Spanish teacher in Moore. That was not my plan. I wanted to be a fourth grade teacher. I tried to get it changed but they knew what they were doing. They told me to stick out the Spanish student teaching. I did. I LOVED it!
I then got a job in Yukon teaching Spanish to middle school students and loved it. I admit my ‘fluency’ was lacking. I had so much to learn. I like many teachers learned so much about the language and teaching on the job. My husband and I shortly after the beginning of my teaching career had children and decided I would be a stay at home mom. We moved to Tuttle to raise our children. During the years, the middle school principal would call and ask me to come and fill the position as their middle school teacher. I declined each time. I regret this now.
Finally, after not teaching 16 years, I got a call from our superintendent at the beginning of the summer last summer and told me that there was an opening and asked if I would be interested in filling it. I told him, “absolutely not.” He called two times after that. I told him the same thing until he on the last phone call he told me, “Shelley if we don’t find anyone, we will not have a world language class at the high school.” Well that broke my heart. I said yes. I was so nervous and scared to death. The accidental Spanish teacher had struck again! I got my verb charts out and started trying to memorize my conjugations. I felt so lost. I thought, “what have you gotten yourself into Shelley?” Fortunately, my principal invited me to EngageOK that summer where I met Lindsay McDonald, and Whitney Najibi who teach at West Moore and Terri Boyd from Lawton Schools and are OFLTA members. They told me the resources to get and check into. They were so kind and they eased my mind. I was blown away with the CI world. I was amazed and worked as hard and fast as I could to learn all I could about all the amazing new
Tuttle High School
Tuttle Public Schools
OFLTA Spotlight: Chandler Dawson voted Oklahoma's "Best of"
At OFLTA's annual fall conference on September 22nd, we announced our TOY for the 2018-2019. We are honored to have Deanna Roach represent world language education in Oklahoma. Deanna is in her 27th year of teaching and currently teaches Spanish at Norman North High School. Prior to that, she served as World Languages Curriculum Coordinator for Oklahoma City Public Schools. She has been a National Board Certified Teacher since 2006 and was named Deer Creek High School's Teacher of the Year in 2009. Deanna has presented at both local and regional conferences. Her session on Comprehensible Input was selected Best of Oklahoma at fall OFLTA Conference in 2016. She was the previous Secretary and Treasurer for OFLTA and also served on a state committee to write the Oklahoma Academic Standards for World Languages.
"I am so grateful to have had the privilege all these years to see students use what they have learned in my class to make a difference in their realm of influence. Nothing is more fulfilling than seeing my students grow up to become world changers, all because they learned to connect with others in another language. One of my former students is in law school to become an immigration attorney. Another works for a British law firm in New York City and is the attorney for a Spanish shipping company. Another is in Washington, D.C. working for the Department of State. More than I can count have gone on to double major or minor in Spanish in college or have used Spanish on missions trips with their churches. Doctors able to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients. Teachers able to communicate with parents of their students. Politicians with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the unique cultures in our Spanish-speaking communities. Business owners who can better serve their Spanish-speaking customers and communicate with their Spanish-speaking employees. What I do each day matters beyond my classroom and beyond even my students' lives. What an incredible calling!"
Deanna Roach, M.Ed., NBCT
Norman Public Schools
OFLTA's Teacher of the Year 2018-2019 : Deanna Roach M.Ed., NBCT
OFLTA Spotlight: Shelley Overholt, Tuttle High School
Oklahoma Foreign Language Teachers' association