The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

Kohler wins KWLA Teacher of the Year, says ‘French just vibed with me’

Photo by Ben Cantrell
Mrs. Kohler, KWLA Teacher of the Year

Most students take Spanish throughout high school, but French should not be overlooked as an option. We have had an incredible French program for years. The biggest selling point for taking French is the teacher, Mrs.Kohler.

Even as the only French teacher in the building, Mrs.Kohler still goes above and beyond, and it has not gone unnoticed.

She has been awarded the Kentucky World Language Association’s 2023 Teacher of the Year.

This award recognizes an individual of the world language teaching profession who has demonstrated long-term achievement and service to the profession,” states KWLA. 

Mrs.Kohler has been drawn into French her whole life. “I probably would not be a teacher if I had to take a different language,” she said. “French just vibed with me. It never occurred to me to take anything else.” 

The award has several criteria including self improvement. “One of the things they’re looking for is somebody who’s constantly looking to get better and looking into new things,” said Mrs. Kohler. “I take good bits and pieces of things that I feel works and combine them to improve my work.”

Another reason Mrs. Kohler won the award was her ability to keep students focused. “The strategy stems from a world language theory called comprehensible input by Tina Hargaden,” said Kohler. “You create characters and you create stories to go with the characters.”

Mrs. Kohler is grateful for the career she has today, as she almost didn’t become a French teacher. “My high school no longer has French and hasn’t had French almost as soon as I graduated,” said Kohler. “I don’t know that I would have the career I have today if French was not offered because the language really spoke to me.”

Mrs. Kohler strives to help students find what language they want to learn, even if it isn’t French. “Whatever language you study in high school gives you the foundation to choose another language if you want at the collegiate level or as an adult,” she said. “What you do in high school teaches you how to learn a language and then you can go where you want to from there.”

She clearly cares a lot about her work, as well as the students she teaches. “I’m in this for the kids in this school to be the best that I can be,” said Mrs. Kohler. “I really want to be better all the time and I feel like if I become stagnant that I’m using the same worksheets or visuals that I did 15 years ago, then I’m not doing my job right anymore.”

Students who take French go on exciting adventures and complete fun activities.

“We have taken trips over the past nine years, including Normandy with the homestay program,” said Mrs. Kohler. “We also create characters and advance these characters in our units. The students love these characters, and know them like the back of their hand.”

Her next adventure will include presenting her strategies to other language teachers as she will be presenting at the next level conference, the Southern Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages. “It is like taking stories we have and advancing them forward so that kids have more buy-in for upper levels,” she said.

Mrs. Kohler has watched other teachers earn this award, and waited for the chance to win it herself. “I’ve watched people get this award for 20 years,” she said. “It’s something I’ve worked toward for 20 years so it’s great that it’s now a reality.”

To say Mrs. Kohler deserves this award is an understatement. She inspires and educates students every day and we can’t wait to see what other amazing things she has in store for the GRC French program.


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About the Contributor
Ben Cantrell
Ben Cantrell, Sports Editor
If you are reading this, you are in the presence of greatness. This is Ben Cantrell. He is a junior here at GRC, and his favorite things to do are play sports, watch sports, and talk about sports. Who could guess that his favorite thing about GRC are the sports. One thing about Ben is he can not be scared by people. The only person who scares him is a person holding a snake. Besides that, he is very lighthearted and a fun person to be around. Ben is excited about his future in this well-respected program and knows he can make an impact (probably something to do with sports.)

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