Getting to know the Northern ENL PLC

Some of the members of the Northern ENL PLC. Paul Gugel, Jean Ann, Katie Knapp, Diane Garafalo (founding member), Laura Stevens (founding member), and Bruce Long Peng.

The mid-state region of New York is unique when it comes to our English Language Learner (ELL) population. We have our city schools, which are heavily populated with ELLs and often have at least 3 teachers of English as a New Language (ENL) in each building. Then we have our rural and suburban districts, whose ELL population usually garners one ENL teacher, maybe two. Our ENL teachers in these districts can often feel isolated with no one to turn to with questions or advice in teaching ELLs. I know from personal experience how hard this can be. I have never taught in a school with another ENL teacher, something that was very hard during my first year of teaching. I felt very alone, stressed, and pressured. I survived though, and got use to the isolated feeling of being the only ENL teacher, that doesn’t mean I didn’t yearn for someone to give me guidance and be my partner in crime in this ENL world though. If you’re reading this and thinking “I feel the same way”, no need to fear, the Northern ENL PLC is here! (and your trusty Mid-State RBERN).

Presenting at NYS TESOL.

The Northern ENL PLC began in 2012, and has grown to over 120 members, ranging from Watertown to Binghamton and Utica to Sodus. Their mission is to provide an environment where ENL professionals can come together to share and collaborate through a support system. They hold quarterly meetings at the Liverpool library and an annual summer luncheon and cruise featuring a speaker. This past summer they had Diane Staehr Fenner present. Unable to attend the meetings? Not a problem! They have a listserv where you can post questions and share ideas. They also send out newsletters, have a trending on twitter section, two websites (one for teachers and one for administrators), job postings, articles, and resources. Recently, members of the PLC presented at NYS TESOL, sharing all they have to offer. In listening to their presentation, I must say that each member that spoke expressed such passion and dedication, not just for the PLC, for the ENL teachers, students, and the ELL community as well. The only negative I have to say, is that I wish they had formed the PLC earlier, so I could’ve had their support system when I started teaching.

To learn more about the Northern ENL PLC visit and/or attend their next meeting on December 7, 2016 at the Liverpool Public Library.

peters_sarah_300pxSara Peters

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