Chaves wins FASLTA award


photo by Chatham Farrell

Chaves is teaching her ASL 2 class. She is showing them how to sign a song.

Every year Florida Foreign Language Association picks one teacher from the state to represent each language category because of exceptional work. This year, Barbara Chaves was chosen to represent the Florida American Sign Language Teachers Association.

“I was very surprised, happy and very honored when I found out about the nomination and that I had chosen for this position,” Chaves said.

She said that she never expected to win this award and it is a great honor to even be considered. To receive this award the teacher has to be nominated by a peer, then chosen by a committee who reviewed the application. This makes it harder to achieve and receive this award. Craig Levett, who is the president elect of FFLA, nominated Chaves.

“The first person I thought of for this years nomination was Mrs. Chaves. She has an exceptional way of teaching and really cares about her students,” Levett said.

Levett wrote an essay explaining Chaves’ rapport with students, her students’ achievement, her involvement in study abroad, her contribution to the language program in her school and district, the expansion of the ASL program, her service to the association, service to other professional organizations, and service at state, regional and national levels.

The fact that Chaves excelled in so many areas showed the committee why she should be honored for her teaching.

Chaves has been teaching for nine years at Hagerty and 20 years total. She teaches ASL II, III and IV to all grades. Chaves’ students share a love for sign language and a love for her.

“I learn a lot in Mrs. Chaves class and actually understand what we are learning. She is a nice person and a great teacher,” sophomore Taylor O’Brien said.

Chaves, like the rest of the ASL department, uses different ways to teach signs, such as making students learn songs, having interesting conversations, and writing the signs in a certain form so that students remember them. She works hard to educate students and this award helps honor her for all of her hard work and dedication.