German teacher Melinda Bowman was named the Indiana Secondary German High School Teacher of the Year. Having worked at Warren for nine years and being heavily involved with the Indiana State German student convention, Bowman has proven herself to be a successful teacher. Bowmen currently teaches German from levels 1 to AP, but has also taught Etymology at the school.
“It is truly humbling being awarded Indiana Secondary German Teacher of the Year. I deserve the honor because of my involvement in coordinating and planning the Indiana State German student convention, called Staatskongress, which is sponsored by Indiana Association of Students of German. I was the coordinator of the event from 2014-2018 and currently I am a teacher sponsor,” Bowman said.
On top of her newest title, Bowman has accomplished a lot, all of which is for her students.
“I have organized exchange visits with our partner high school, the Leibniz Gymnasium in Neustadt-an-der-Weinstrasse, Germany. It is always fun when our German students visit Warren Central and stay with our families. Then, we get to do the same in Germany a year later. I have also organized student trips to the Carmel Symphony Orchestra - I play viola with the Carmel Symphony,” Bowman said.
With the COVID-19 school year, it has been a stressful journey for students and teachers alike, and with the school transitioning to virtual learning until Jan. 19, she misses nothing more than being with her students, but is still pushing through.
“What I enjoy most about teaching is being with my students and watching them grow and learn,” Bowman said. “Virtual teaching is definitely a new and different way for me to teach. I prefer being in person with my students because I can quickly see if my students need help with what we're learning. It is a little harder to know that right away in a virtual format.”
With Bowman teaching many different levels of German over hybrid and all-virtual formats, it takes her a lot of time to create her lesson plans for her in-person students as well as her virtual students, and while it can be stressful, she has learned how to successfully balance her schedule between family, personal life and teaching.
“Balancing my teaching load with my family and personal time has been a struggle, but I have learned it is really important for me to set aside time to be with my kids and do fun things for myself. It makes me a better teacher when I take time for myself,” Bowman said.
While this school year is not ideal for anyone, it is important that everyone continues pushing their way through and doing the best they can with what they were dealt. In Bowman’s experience, setting time for herself, creating fun and interactive virtual lesson plans and learning to use virtual-learning to her own advantage, she has made a workable system for herself and her advice to teachers and students during this time is the following.
“For teachers, I'd say give yourself grace and know what you are able to do, and see what opportunities might be possible when teaching virtually. For students, remember to take time for yourself because it can be exhausting learning virtually. Be patient with teachers as we learn a new way to do our job. And, know that we really miss you and we worry about you.”