Eric Jaworski, Ocean Lakes High School Spanish teacher and world languages department chairperson, has been selected by the Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA) as the winner of the 2018 David Cox FLAVA Award for Excellence in Foreign Language Teaching, K-12.
According to the FLAVA website, the award recognizes a foreign language educator in grades K-12 who has demonstrated excellence in foreign language instruction and whose nomination may be forwarded as the FLAVA candidate to regional associations’ competitions for Teacher of the Year.
Jaworski has been teaching Spanish at Ocean Lakes High School (OLHS) since 1992 and has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Old Dominion University and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Averett University.
“My first passion was music,” wrote Jaworski in a personal statement for the award. “My parents hoped I would one day be a concert pianist; but, somehow along the way, I acquired a passion for another kind of music: the music of language and culture. As a child I remember hearing my grandmother speak Polish, my mother’s best friend speak Italian, and my childhood friend’s mother speak Spanish; all was music to my ears. …I wanted to join in the symphony of the world; I wanted to be able to speak another language. When I took Spanish in middle school, I immediately fell in love.”
As a Spanish teacher, Jaworski is encouraging other students to fall in love with world languages.
“As a military child, I have taken Spanish in four different schools with five different teachers,” wrote one OLHS student in a recommendation letter submitted to FLAVA. “Mr. Jaworski’s teaching methods are not the typical classroom experience of lectures, taking notes, and filling out worksheets. [He] believes that the best way to learn a language is to hear it, read it, and practice it. He keeps class engaging and fun…[and] he connects students to an enormous number of resources.”
In her letter of recommendation for the award, Jennifer Carson, VBCPS coordinator of K-12 world languages, wrote: “I have observed many of his classes, and in each one, he remained in Spanish all of the time and promoted a similarly high level of student language. Adroitly balancing context with visuals, prior knowledge, and gestures, Mr. Jaworski artfully engages students, often very early in the morning, with ideas that raise the level of discourse and cognition.”
Jaworski will be recognized during an awards dinner held at the annual FLAVA Fall Conference in October.
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