Around the UFT

NYC Association of Foreign Language Teachers conference

Haciendo conexiones

Miller

Collaborating on a workshop task are (from left) Suri Pavlus of CIS 313 in the Bronx, Gabriele Dehn Knight of Stuyvesant HS in Manhattan, Delena Brito of Unity HS in Manhattan, Celinda Vanichpong of Clarkstown South HS in Rockland County and Diomery Sanchez of MS 67 in Queens.

To Irma Evangelista, nothing tops the joy reflected in the faces of students when they’ve learned a language well enough to communicate in it for the first time. “Just by speaking the language they become mesmerized,” said Evangelista, the president of the New York City Association of Foreign Language Teachers/UFT. “You’ll find that language teachers are passionate about what they do.” Indeed they are. More than 300 teachers gave up their Saturday during the long Veterans Day weekend to attend the association’s 19th annual conference at UFT headquarters in Manhattan. They broke bread, spoke a gumbo of languages and attended workshops, including teaching social issues through classic French films and using Mexican and Spanish painters to teach Spanish language and culture. “The place was infused with languages and learning,” said Evangelista. Nunzia Manginelli, a Spanish teacher at Esperanza Preparatory Academy in East Harlem and one of four founders of the organization, said the association listens carefully to what the language teachers want and need and organizes workshops that reflect that. “Not only do they appreciate and attend, but they often take what they learned on Saturday and use it in the classroom on Monday,” she said.

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