SPOTLIGHT ON NEW TEACHERS: Megan Tussing
Megan Brady, OFLA Beginning Teacher Committee Chair
Spanish Teacher, Marlington Local Schools
The OFLA Beginning Teacher Committee is working hard to connect with new teachers and to support them to become excellent, innovative, resourceful, and long lasting world language teachers. Our goal is to provide a network of resources, strategies and tools for new teachers. We want new teachers to know that they are not alone, and that OFLA is here to help them. To this end, we will be interviewing new teachers throughout the year and highlighting them in The Cardinal. Megan Tussing is a French teacher at Teays Valley High School in Ashville, Ohio. This is her first year teaching French.
What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
I love getting to know the students and seeing the growth of individual students’ abilities in the target language. Already, even after just six weeks I can see a difference from where students began!
What made you want to teach?
I personally loved learning new languages. My first experience with a world language was my freshman year of high school in my world language class. I had never heard a language quite like that or heard about a culture so different. It was amazing to have my eyes opened to the broader world around me and I wanted to be able to do that for other students as well.
Who has had the biggest impact on your teaching and why?
Being such a young teacher almost every educator I have met and had the opportunity to observe or have conversations with has impacted my teaching. The experience I had with my mentor teacher from my student teaching days was exceptional. Being with her everyday and observing her teaching style, her interactions with all of the students within the school, as well as her co-workers was such a different experience for me and I loved every minute of it. Her organization skills are what stuck with me the most. Her notes that she would create for students as well as her method for delivering them is something that worked really well for her. Trying to mimic that organization has been when my lessons go super well. It is also when I see the most growth in my students’ language skills.
What is one thing you learned from another teacher that helped you this year?
Another teacher at my school told me that it’s okay to let some things go in order to focus on what you can and to not spread yourself too thin. Trying to plan, craft materials, learn a new online education platform, lead the language club, and work out how to organize a hybrid schedule has not been easy. Starting out I would spend every minute I was awake working, only to break for meals. I was so exhausted I wasn’t able to be 100% for my students in class. With this advice however, I have been able to prioritize the essentials, and if sometimes some things fall to the wayside, it is okay. Now, being able to plan and prepare for lessons in order to perform my best when I am with students is what has become my main focus.
What is a project or lesson in your classroom that you are really proud of or happy with?
In my French 3 class, students were learning the Imparfait and during one of the classes we were going over when to use the Imparfait versus the Passé Composé. In my experience, this has been something with which students have struggled a lot. But after going over the slides that I had created for students to explain the different situations where each tense is used we did an activity together a few days later and the students were able to describe which tense should be used and why! It was so great to see that this had clicked with students.
What is one thing that you have struggled with as a new teacher?
Being only six weeks into the school year, and with the way the hybrid schedule has been working this year, I feel that I am still trying to figure out my teaching style and a routine as well as trying to find the time to work on everything I need to in order to figure this out. That has been very difficult.
What advice do you have for new teachers?
Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to ask questions because you are brand new to the profession and you have absolutely zero years of experience. There are a lot of things that you are not going to know! Most likely, more experienced teachers will be happy to answer any questions you may have.