Past Leaders & People
What does it mean to be President of CASLT? An immense pride to be representing an association which has such a tremendous influence on second language teaching, whose mission statement stands as a beacon of light in the hearts of all second language teachers because it reinforces the value of learning a second language especially in this global world of ours.
To me personally, it was a year which I will never forget and I would like to share some memories with you.
- Awe that such a prestigious executive would choose me, a classroom teacher to become a part of their world and pride that they trusted me to do the job properly.
- Being a classroom teacher had advantages and disadvantages. I was in the unique position of knowing exactly what was needed at classroom level and the problems that faced us.
- The lack of free time to do the work during the day. How well I remember getting up at 5:30 a.m. to make my telephone calls to the East and then running home after school to phone the West;
- Trying to schedule executive meetings at exam times so as not to miss too much teaching time;
- Relying on an already overworked secretary to do my work as well as her own (she never let me down even though often my work had to be done after school hours);
- A Principal who allowed me time for executive meetings for four years as she too felt it was a position of which I should be proud.
Some advantages of being President were:
- Working with the executive and getting to know them was a highlight of my year as President. Their various backgrounds, the enormous expertise, the willingness to work together for the benefit of the cause. Meetings were ever stimulating and challenging and my education improved immeasurably. They were a wonderful group of people and lasting friendships were made;
- Working with Gary Young, John Stewart and Claire Bélanger as they produced a symposium on technology, what talent and what practical results for teachers everywhere;
- Working with Donald Teel on the first ever combined conference of ACPI and CPF and seeing the result of such cooperation when, on behalf of CASLT I, as President, welcomed our 500 delegates to a conference where it was shown that the importance of second languages was the key and a theme close to all our hearts;
- Meeting and working with the Department of Canadian Heritage especially Vivian Knapp who was always most helpful and tolerant of my unending questions and queries, always ready to help me achieve the best for our organization. Thanks to her hard work, we were, for the first time able to get two years funding which enabled us to plan accordingly, secure in the knowledge that the money was there;
- Representing CASLT in my province of Alberta, publishing bulletins in the provincial newsletter and being an ambassadress at the provincial conference;
- Meeting dignitaries from all walks of life and finding them charming, gracious and ever helpful.
Yes, we achieved practical results during my year as President, especially the reorganization of our office, the joint conference and these are worthy of being remembered, but my most lasting impressions come from the people whom I met and with whom I was privileged to work. It is their dedication, hard work and sense of commitment which makes CASLT great and it is people who will continue to promote the mission of CASLT both now and in the future.
I would never have missed the opportunity of being President and to the executive who chose me for this position. my thanks and my gratitude for an unforgettable year.
Published in the November 2000 Anniversary Issue of Réflexions