Nicole Hanlon, OFLA Beginning Teachers Chair
French Teacher, Buckeye Valley High School

The OFLA Beginning Teacher Committee is working hard to connect with new teachers and to support them in becoming 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. Timo Acker is a German teacher at Tinora High School in Defiance, Ohio. This is his second year teaching.

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

My favorite thing about being a teacher is seeing the students every day. I enjoy interacting with almost 100 people, instead of just staring at a screen for 8 hours.

What made you want to teach?

When I was in elementary school, I wanted to teach because I loved school. When I was in high school I wanted to teach because I didn’t love school anymore and felt that I could make it better.

Who has had the biggest impact on your teaching and why?

Maria Herman, my Classroom Mentor Teacher at Maumee High School has had the biggest impact on my teaching. I learned a ton of real-life teaching skills from her and she supported me in becoming the teacher I want to be. We still collaborate on materials and assessments regularly.

What is one thing you learned from another teacher that helped you this year?

Routine is not boring, it sets clear expectations.

What is a project or lesson in your classroom that you are really proud of or happy with?

I am generally proud of my Integrated Performance Assessments, which measure students’ language proficiency across all domains of communication. For example, my German 2 students watch a video of someone’s apartment tour in Germany, then discuss their own homes with a partner, and film their own house tour. These types of assessments also act as my High Quality Student Data for OTES 2.0.

What is one thing that you have struggled with as a new teacher?

One thing I have struggled with as a new teacher is connecting with students that I didn’t have for their first year of German. The students are already used to a different teacher and their teaching style, so it can be difficult to meet their expectations or set different expectations. I find it easier to connect with the freshman when I am their first German teacher.

What advice do you have for new teachers?

My advice for new teachers is: don’t be afraid to show your human side. Admit your own mistakes and demonstrate how you learn from them, be openly passionate about your subject, and show them pictures of your pet!

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