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Teachers of the Year 2017


Laura Seset - Ball State University

Born in Columbus, Indiana, Laura began studying German at Columbus Northside Junior High School in 8th grade and continued through high school.  After graduation, she moved to Indianapolis to study at ITT Business Institute, where she received a legal secretarial certificate in 1982.  After working as a typist and administrative assistant at Regency Electronics in Lawrence, Indiana for four years, she began taking courses at IUPUI in Indianapolis majoring in business administration.  She changed her major to German language and her minor to business after studying abroad with the Indiana University Graz summer program.  She worked as an intern at the Volksbank Sigmaringen. 
After graduating with her BA degree (1992), she continued studying at Purdue University and received her MA (1995) and PhD degrees (2001). She continued to work as an instructor at Purdue and also studied briefly at the Goethe Institute in Bremen during her time in West Lafayette, Indiana.
She began working as an assistant professor at Ball State University in the fall 2004.  She is currently teaching full time at Ball State and volunteers as the onsite coordinator of the Indiana Association of Students of German Staatskongress.  She has been a member of the Indiana Chapter of the AATG since 1992, and served as treasurer, vice president and president of the organization.  She received the higher education teacher of the year award in November 2017.


Nichole Mathews (H.S.) - Hamilton Southeastern Schools

Nichole Mathews grew up in Westerville, Ohio.  She had a rather international 6-12 grade school career, having had home stays in France, Austria and Japan.  Her first foreign language was French but then she tried German and fell in love with it.  That next summer Nichole had the opportunity to add a language through the Ohio State University Youth scholarship program and took 9 college credit hours of Intensive Japanese.    

Not originally pursuing education, Nichole double majored in Japanese and International Business and Economics and minored in German.  She spent 9 months in Japan and a semester in Germany through her college study abroad.  She then spent a little time in International Business before going back to school to become a teacher and got her Masters of Education from the Ohio State University. 

She has taught Japanese and German in IPS, then Muncie Schools before her dream of teaching in the same district where she lived came true.  Nichole now teaches German at Hamilton Southeastern High school where she is involved with German club, and German Honorary.  In additional to German and Japanese, Nichole has taught Etymology and Credit Recovery.  She is also licensed in:  English as a New Language, U.S. and World History. 

Nichole participated in the Neuer Blick program in Belin, Sommer am Pazifik and Sommer in Seewanee immersion programs.  For two years, Nichole was the Host School Sponsor for the Indiana Association of Students of German, the group who puts on Staatskongress at Ball State.  She continues to be involved as a Sponsor and the last two presidents have been current or former students.  

Nichole has been the American Association of Teachers of German Indiana Chapter webmaster for the past three years.  In her free time, Nichole can be found reading, singing in choir and working as scholarship committee historian for her church, playing with new organizational techniques, volunteering at the Library for the Doctor Who youth club, taking Zumba classes and doing Yoga.     

Middle School

Joy Nicht grew up in Fort Wayne, IN where she attended Concordia Lutheran High School and first learned German. After high school she attended Valparaiso University and studied in Tübingen, DE. Upon graduation she hopped over to Austria to work as a Teaching Assistant with the Fulbright Program.  This will go down as the best year of her life – Skiing, the Opera, and Schnitzel are some of her favorite things now!  

After Austria, she achieved her Master’s in Secondary Ed. and sought out teaching positions in Indiana. Since 2012, Joy has taught German in either the High School and Middle School Level, most recently at Clay Middle School in Carmel, Indiana. In addition to teaching, Joy is a certified Pilates instructor and coaches health and fitness online.  She married her German born & raised husband in 2017 and they enjoy traveling, hiking, and biking together! 


Teacher Feature for Summer 2017: 

Robin Geisinger - Fishers HS Teacher of the Year,

Of the High Schools HSE Teacher of the Year 

Short video (Starting at 2:30)

Was hast du dieses letztes Jahr unterrichtet?  

Last year-, like all years--as do many fellow German teachers--I had hectic schedule. I taught two sections of German I, two sections of German II Honors, one section of German IV Honors /IB Year I , and one section of AP/IB Year 2.   This was actually a lighter load than some other years, however!   Other 'hats' worn included German Honorary Society, German Club, and GAPP sponsorships

Was ist dein Lehrart?  
I try to include a variety of methods as I feel there is no 'Silver bullet' for learning a language and there are so many kids with so many different learning styles.  It is good to get exposed to a variety of methods.  I try to find the right combination for using as much German in each level as I can so that by the time they are in German IV and the AP/IB class, the class can be taught almost completely in German.  That is important.
Actively use vocab in class; don't just give your kids the words and assume they are going to learn and use the vocab--most will not.
Was ist Hilfreich zu haben wenn man Lehrplan schreibt, order mit der Klasse arbeitet?  
I hate to admit how long I have been teaching, but suffice it to say I think I have attained 'Threshold Teaching'  😊 when I need to apply it.   When lesson planning,  I use old fashion paper and pencil to brainstorm first by making a grid with four sections: Reading/Writing/Listening/Speaking----all under the umbrella of German CULTURE.  I jot notes in each category.  I try to use/find authentic reading and listening and videos for my students whenever possible.  I make sure each of these skills is touched on daily.  I then put my lessons for the class to see on  as well as any studying or homework.
 Hast du Hinweise für neue Deutschlehreren, or andere Deutschlehreren? 
 Well, it "ain't easy" if you are going to become your best. There are a lot of things at school one must attend to that seem to have nothing to do with your number one task of teaching German!  I think using online lesson planning/posting site is a time saver after you have completed one year of plans. Quia is a site that I think is helpful to have as well.   I also believe establishing a GAPP exchange has been a big draw to our program.  We are approaching our 10 year anniversary of the exchange.  I know of students who want to take German here because of the GAPP exchange---it is a lot of work, but the payoffs are big for the students, for your program and for you--it is a personally enriching experience for all, including the teacher.  And, get help with GAPP--find a colleague to assist you; he/she does not need to know German to help you.  Stay away from those 'for profit' tour companies.  They will not help build a good program!


Teacher Feature for November:

Testing Chair Person - Troy Butler, Indiana University

 Deutsche Welle Interview



Teacher Feature for July:

Indiana Chapter President- Candis Carey, Portage HS


I started taking German in 7th grade and just fell in love with the language and culture.  In 8th grade I decided I would be a German teacher and there was no turning back for me; even when my family moved and my high school did not have German!  The 2015-2016 school year marks my 9th year of teaching; 7 years have been at Portage High School where I teach German 1 through 4AP/Duel Credit.  I have been honored to receive the AATG Rising Star Award, and was chosen for TrainDaf, with that was an amazing Goethe Institut Seminar in Berlin, Vienna, and Zurich.  At my school the top 30 seniors are invited to an awards banquet and invite one teacher they consider outstanding; I have been chosen four different times!  What a huge compliment! 
When I am not teaching German, I enjoy going to the gym, knitting, scrapbooking, traveling, and also working at a local animal shelter. 

Would you or someone you know like to be in our monthly teacher feature?  Then send the following to:  We will need a picture and a short Bio.  Some possible topics:  How did you get into teaching/German?, hobbies, educational triumphs, current projects, and interesting facts.  


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