Language Teacher of the Year

Kudos to Angela Rains, Outstanding CLTA Teacher of the Year

“Learning a language is not just about the curriculum of what’s outlined in the California standards, but about experiencing authentic German-related materials.”

— Angela Raines

When you take a German class with Angela Hillman Raines, an online high school language teacher and teacher supervisor at UC Scout, you get a sense that Germany is just not that far away.

“I like to get students excited about the culture of German-speaking countries by providing real-world access,” says Angela, who was recognized recently as an Outstanding Teacher at the annual California Language Teachers Association conference in San Jose, CA. 

Karneval parade in Ravensburg, Germany
German teacher Angela Raines took this photo of locals dressed in witch folk costumes at the Fashing or Karneval parade in Ravensburg, Germany (February, 2007)

At Scout, Angela teaches German levels I through IV and Advanced Placement™, primarily to high school students. Her students explore events and cultural figures such as Fasching and Karneval, or der Heilige Nikolaus. She invites them to follow current events via online magazines, radio, and podcasts in German.

“Learning a language is not just about the curriculum of what’s outlined in the California standards, but about experiencing authentic German-related materials,” she says. “I show them the roots of key figures in the Germanic culture so they can make a connection to why they want to learn German. I want to show them there are lots of interesting things happening there.”

There are many ways into learning a language, she says.

“As a teacher I can adapt the task to develop literacy without explicitly setting out that goal.”

UC Scout is reaching beyond traditional barriers and has drawn some unexpected interest, including that of a 12-year-old who has recently signed up to study German, the language of his family.

Angela’s been teaching German, both in person and online, since 2000. She grew up with a sense of her distant German heritage but really fell in love with the language and the people when she studied in Germany for a year at the age of 19.

She’s also an active member of the CLTA and spearheaded the initiative to create a German language advocacy group within the association. She serves on the board of the Foreign Language Association of the Sierra Highlands (FLASH).

“It feels good to be recognized for trying to be a good colleague as well as a good teacher,” she says. “I want to collaborate with others and see if we can better promote our respective languages.”

You can learn more about Angela’s courses at UC Scout.