Elizabeth Sanchez has been named the WVFLTA 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year. She was honored during a ceremony in October at the WVFLTA 2022 fall conference in Morgantown, WV. Sanchez has taught for 16 years and currently teaches Spanish at Spring Hills Middle School in Berkeley County. She routinely advocates for increasing foreign language opportunities for students and for heritage and native speakers of Spanish courses to be implemented at the school.
2022 TOY Elizabeth Sanchez pictured with members of the TOY Committee, Blanca Skaggs and Lola Contreras, and Nancy Ryan, (Retired) Berkeley County Schools World Language Coordinator
“Teaching the Spanish language and culture is my passion, and I try to instill that same passion into my students. I look for ways to incorporate field trips, music, dancing, food, and opportunities for students to interact with native speakers as much as possible.”
Sanchez is praised by students, colleagues, and her administrators.
One student wrote that Sra. Sanchez “uses diverse methods and encourages students to find new ways to learn and grow… For example, she has taught us the history of different cultures, festivals, and celebrations of foreign countries.” A colleague noted, Sanchez is very adept with technology and is a lifelong learner who is constantly finding or creating the best strategies to engage students, and uses music, games, and realia. Sanchez’s principal shared, “her passion for teaching Spanish instills in the students an appreciation for learning. …the students are always engaged in creative and challenging lessons and activities…Sanchez has taken advantage of many opportunities to provide her leadership and expertise. She helped create an appreciation for the diverse cultural background of our students”
In her portfolio, Sanchez shared, “I believe that I can always do a better job, so I am involved in professional development groups on social media as well as attend in-person or virtual workshops, when possible. I believe working with colleagues is imperative, so I strive to collaborate with my colleagues by sharing my knowledge, activities, and lessons as well as learning from them..”
During the ceremony Sanchez shared her love and passion for teaching as well as her gratitude for the professional development at WVFLTA, “2015 was the first time I came [to the conference] and I learned so much that I’ve made sure every year since I’ve come back. It really changed my teaching. Thank you to everyone in this room…I love what I do and I always try to find a different way each year to incorporate something new.”
The award ceremony can be watched https://tinyurl.com/WVFLTA22TOYCeremony
As our state’s World Language Teacher of the Year, Sanchez will represent West Virginia at the Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT) in Mobile, Alabama in March. In addition to being recognized as a leader in our region, she will compete with TOYS from around the region to determine who will represent SCOLT at the national language conference, ACTFL, to be named the national teacher of the year.
Each spring, WVFLTA members are encouraged to nominate a K-12 and Higher Education World Language Teacher of the Year. The candidates prepare a portfolio which is reviewed by the Teacher of the Year Committee. Teachers must be WVFLTA members with at least 5 years of teaching experience and active WVFLTA membership. The TOY award serves as a valuable recognition for the incredibly hard work that teachers do, as well as an inspiration for future world language teachers.