Q&A: Nancy Tilka, World Language


Mrs. Nancy Tilka, World Language, poses with her award. Mrs. Tilka has been teaching French on and off since 1983.

Tori Wilkes, Author

Q: How long have you been teaching French for?

A: [I’ve been teaching] off and on since 1983 but not every year. I’ve taught at Bishop Noll, Griffith and Purdue Calumet other than Lake Central.
Q: What is your favorite part of teaching French?

A: I really like when first year students go from knowing nothing to actually something. It’s getting over that first hurdle that’s exciting.

Q: When were you awarded American Association of Teachers of French French teacher of the year?

A: It was somewhere between May and June when I found out and I won, and I received it at a conference.

Q: How did it feel to receive it?

A: I was humbled [to receive the award]. There are a lot of awesome French teachers in Indiana.

Q: Were you expecting it?

A: Someone asked me if I would be willing to accept this award, and I said yes. I had to prepare a portfolio, and it was presented at the state conference. Representatives from all language groups were there. I was surprised and happy that I was nominated.

Q: How did the school react to it?

A: The school was above and beyond and just wonderful. My department was extremely wonderful. I was particularly honored that Mr. [Al] Gandolfi [Asst. Superintendent] and Mr.[Larry]  Verraco [Superintendent] came to celebrate with us. When Mr. [Tim] Powers [Asst. Principal] took the time and effort, it made it really special.

Q: Why do you enjoy teaching French at the high school level?

A: I really like teenagers and the energy of high schools.

Q: How long have you been involved in Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association?

A: A long time, ever since I’ve been teaching in Indiana.

Q: How does it feel seeing some of your students go on in the French language?
A: It’s wonderful. I feel like I’m part of the beginning of their journey in becoming fluent. It’s really gratifying when students come back with amazing language skills.