Amherst Club Luncheon Notes for Tuesday--Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Phyllis Lehrer introduced our speaker, Wilma Ortiz, who is fresh from her visit to the White House reception for teachers across the country honored by their states.  Wilma represents Massachusetts as our Teacher of the Year, a glittering distinction.  She is 
eager to share her hug with Barack Obama whose indulgence she requested, telling us she is a "hugger".  We did not doubt her, having had the warmth of her talk to carry home with us.

Wilma's recognition came from strenuous effort to illuminate her role as teacher.  It came from more how she relates to her English Language Learning students, there was no doubt, than the academic basis for her career. She has carried with her, these twenty years of teaching, important premises.  They relate to the nature of five college connections, the role of immigrant families, and the relationship of our country to the global sphere.  She has learned, in her role as ambassador of all teachers, to budget her time and make use of the word NO in framing her priorities.  Her need is to help frame teacher/administrative evaluations in a new way.  She stressed the need for critical thinking in a collective view of how our educational system is evolving.

The need for critical thinking on the part of her students is of concern to Wilma who instills in them a sense of "I wonder" in her daily lessons.  She emphasizes that a love of teaching accompanies a love of people and believing in what one does. In her work with students from other cultures her need for understanding is critical.   Her reference to a student whose life made a turnaround with her was inspiring.  He who could not express himself yet wanted to belong had obstacles to overcome.  She learned about his background, scheduled after school sessions of invaluable learning and helped Carlos become an integral part of the classroom.  Wilma is a proponent of workshops for both students and teachers, new ways of exploring together in relationships.

Being Teacher- o-f the- Year carried with it opportunities to meet Jill Biden, the Vici-President's wife,(another dedicated teacher)  and visiting in her home; meeting our Senator Scott Brown and Congressman John Olver.  Her message:  we are partners, everybody has a place, everybody has a voice. 

Michael Greenebaum stood in for President, Vivienne Carey, who is on tour overseas.  
He reminded us that June 7th is the time of our annual meeting when the future of our Endowment Fund will be discussed.
Ruth Miller requests reservations for the June 25th Lady Bea afternoon.  There are 30 already signed on.
Phyllis Lehrer reminds us that The Garden Club Plant Sale takes place on the Town Common on Saturday, May 14tth.
Cynthia Brubaker suggests that we leave non-perishable food by our mailbox on Saturday, May 14th.  
The U.S. Postal Department is collecting nationwide for the less-fortunate in our communities.
The Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk will take place on May 14th as well.
Tina Berins won the wine.
Doris Holden won the cash.

Scribe:  Nancy Brose