2013 Hall of Fame Nominee

Leslie Boaz

Wheatland High School
Wheatland, WY
2013 Finalist from PNCFL

I grew up in a small town in a rural state and have always worked in small schools. I enjoy the small community lifestyle but I also believe that all students need access to language learning. The skills and confidence that students acquire in the language classroom are immeasurable. Students need to have the opportunity to gain the skills to work with people throughout the world in today’s global society. Regardless of where students live they need to develop the skills of the 21st century. They also need to be able to speak accurately and with confidence in the world languages necessary for economic and national security.

The main value of language study is a student gaining a working knowledge of a second language and culture. Every day I endeavor to foster an understanding of cultures and societies and to create people who can interact globally. Students learn cultural values and gain the ability to travel or work in a non-English speaking community. Living in a small community poses problems for students to be able to use and improve their language skills. Yet I believe it is my job to encourage students to seek out everyday interactions in their second language. Language study opens the doors to a whole new world. Our classrooms expose students to other disciplines such as art, literature, science and history. I believe that encouraging a deeper exploration of these subjects fosters lifelong learning of language, culture and beyond.

As teachers it is our job to ensure that students have the skills necessary to succeed in life after school. The skills in my classroom go beyond the language and allow students to become better readers, writers, problem solvers and have increased creativity. When they are able to use their creativity and solve problems on a daily basis, students grow in confidence; in their willingness to consider new ideas without feeling threatened, and to explore other ideas and cultures. In addition to language skills, students grow in their ability to work with others to solve problems and take responsibility for their work. These skills provide the avenues for success in college, work and the military.

I truly believe that every student in every corner, big or small, of our country must be able to access language learning for their own personal benefit as well as that of our country. Language learning is so valuable that a price tag cannot be placed on it. I emphasize its importance every day in my classroom as I share new or interesting facts about the languages and cultures I teach. Why am I always promoting language and culture? Because it is my job and my passion! As a language teacher, I seek to inspire and encourage my students to always look for the benefits of language in their lives.