Annual Report for 2010
Ontario Association of Teachers of German

OATG Reception at the OMLTA Spring Conference
Our annual reception for OATG members, partners and friends of DaF-teaching took place again on the Friday of the OMLTA (Ontario Modern Language Teachers’ Association) Spring Conference, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Toronto Airport. We had a total of 15 attendees, including representatives of our close partners the Goethe-Institut Toronto, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of German in Toronto, and the ZfA. We were able to offer drinks and a buffet dinner to attendees, who had a rare opportunity to connect and share news about our German programs in our respective cities and schools. Attendance is considered to be higher than average compared to recent years, perhaps attributable to the fact that we now offer a full buffet meal with the use of a separate room in the hotel’s Orchid Café. This event is a highlight for the OATG membership, as we are able to capitalize on the fact that some teachers from outside the Toronto area are attending the OMLTA Conference anyway.

At this conference we also partnered with the Goethe-Institut Toronto to set up and staff an information booth for both days of the conference (Friday March 26th and Saturday March 27th, 2010). We greeted teachers and other people interested in the German language, informed prospective new members about the services of the OATG, collected new contact details for our twice-yearly Rundbrief (now sent out via email), and promoted the value of German language teaching in Ontario.

Continued OATG Website development and Marketing Materials
After the launch of our new website on March 26th 2010, our new Webmaster has been trained and is actively keeping the information on the site bright, interesting and up-to-date. The new website operates with a content management tool which makes updates much easier and quicker to make. The newly re-designed OATG logo was featured on the banner displayed behind the information stand, and we had also created 50 elegant water bottles with the logo, as an incentive gift for paid-up members of the organization.

Our biannual Rundbrief continues to be sent via email to our full mailing list of almost 100 email addresses. This is particularly important to keep in touch with those members of our community who live outside the Toronto area, and who therefore have more difficulty attending OATG events in person.

Jahreshauptversammlung and Fortbildungswochenende 2010
For the first time, the OATG’s Jahreshauptversammlung and Fortbildungswochenende was held at the University of Toronto Schools, which is one of the PASCH schools chosen by the ZfA. The Jahreshauptversammlung took place on the evening of Friday October 15th 2010, with 10 members in attendance. Then, a full day of workshops and presentations was offered to a wider audience of members and partners on Saturday October 16th 2010. We had a total of 20 attendees, including presenters, which is higher than we have seen in recent years. Attendees paid a registration fee of $40 for the Fortbildungstag. The OATG covered the cost of one overnight stay in a nearby hotel, for those conference attendees who lived more than 70km from the event. For these people and others who came by car, parking costs were also reimbursed by the OATG.

Ontario High School German Contest
For the second time in 2010, we held our annual Ontario High School German Contest at North Toronto Collegiate Institute. We are now comfortable with our new format for this contest, which only requires students to attend for one Saturday, rather than attending a regional test and then a weekend of further testing for the finalists. Students primarily attend from Toronto and the surrounding cities. Attracting attendees from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa and other areas has been difficult. The students now attend the Contest day for a fee of $50, which covers a snack on arrival, a sandwich lunch and the banquet dinner, which for the second year has been held at the Mandarin Restaurant near the school. Those students who place tend to win at least $50 in prize money, along with various goodies. This year, the German Consulate was able to offer 2 PAD trips to Germany as the top 2 prizes in the main category. We also collected great prize money contributions from companies such as Munich Re, Mercedes and Zwilling Henckels, to name just a few. Our awards banquet was attended by the Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frau Sparwasser, as well as representatives of the Goethe-Institut, the University of Toronto, and the ZfA.

Beginner Contest
Again in 2010, the German Consulate sponsored a contest for beginner students of German, consisting of a short test with multiple choice and short answer questions about German culture, simple grammar and vocabulary. The top prize included a “Wanderpokal” for the winning school, as well as gift certificate prizes for Goethe Books, our main German book supplier. The contest was emailed to all high school teachers, administered by them with about 30 minutes of class time, and then mailed back to the Consulate to be marked by a team of volunteer markers. This contest is particularly important, as it allows students and schools to participate who live too far from Toronto to be able to attend the Ontario High School German Contest and many of the other German-related events that take place in the area.

The OATG was proud to have its hand in supporting the Deutschmobil project, which allowed for two “Sprachbotschafter”, Eva and Flo, to tour Canada in a Mercedes Sprinter van, visiting schools and offering lively workshops on rap and soccer. Sponsored primarily with funds from the Embassy in Ottawa and the Goethe-Institute in Toronto and Montréal, and with an organizational team also including the ZfA, the Consulate in Toronto, and the OATG, the team visited over 70 schools in the 3 months it was on the road, and drove twice across Canada. The most important aspect of this project was that the Deutschmobil was able to visit schools further away from the urban centres, who are usually unable to profit from the special events and field trip opportunities found in the big cities. Feedback on the school visits was overwhelmingly positive, and the project, although costly, is considered to have been a big success.

Nicola Townend
OATG President 2007 – 2011
February 27rd, 2011