My mission with TCI By The Lake has four pillars:
- Maximize students’ language acquisition
and retention in our programs.
- Prevent language teacher burnout and promote self-care.
- Provide free support to teachers who are just getting started with comprehensible input-based methods.
- Do my part to change the landscape of modern world language education in our schools and universities.
Thanks so much for stopping by! I created TCI By The Lake to make the path easier for others to travel down. This site is my way of giving back to a community that has helped me along my own CI journey. Apart from my students of course, the people I have met both in person and online are my favorite part of the profession. My colleagues and the 7,000 members and counting of the iFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching Facebook page are a constant source of inspiration for new ideas.
I look forward to the second Saturday of every month because I get to spend the morning talking shop and learning with my good friends from Central Ohio TCI. Teri Wiechart and I founded this group in 2015 because we saw a vacuum for CI collaboration and coaching in our area of the state. I also co-founded and co-moderate the “Teaching El Internado” Facebook page with another Ohio CI teacher,Travis Murray. We have just under 500 people in the group.
I have always believed that we should never define who we are solely by what we do for a living. That being said, here’s a little about me:
I teach Spanish at Marysville Early College High School in Marysville, OH. I triple-majored in Spanish, sociology/criminology, and political science at Ohio University and earned my MBA with a concentration in leadership from Tiffin University.
I live outside of Richwood, Ohio with my wife, Lindsey, and two young children. We will be celebrating our 11th anniversary this August. We have three cats (Bobcat, Nike, and Thor), one dog (a chihuahua named Athena), and a small flock of eight hens that we keep for eggs. I recently said goodbye to Max, my Italian Greyhound companion of more than 10 years and Bugs, one of my American Bobtail cats. Descansen en paz, amigos míos.
In addition to languages, I enjoy lifting weights, running, traveling, cooking, barbecuing and smoking meats, making homemade pizzas, reading, trains, model railroading, classic and modern muscle cars, building scale models, visiting zoos and aquariums, keeping tropical fish, riding dirtbikes and ATVs, walking on my trails in the woods, photography, gardening, horticulture, keeping chickens, fishing, and web design. My wife would probably add “disappearing into the pole barn to play with my toys.”
I started a landscaping business in 2013 to supplement our income while I began my teaching career. I love working outside and making my customers’ lawns look their best. This work provides a nice balance to being inside a school all day. The smell of two-cycle exhaust and freshly cut grass is a good break from Axe body spray and dry erase markers…just saying! The busiest times in this industry are late spring and early fall – precisely the busiest and most hectic times for teachers as well. It can be a challenge to get it all done, but I believe that every teacher would benefit by having some sort of a side hustle.
I enjoy traveling both domestically and internationally. My favorite country that I have visited so far has been Croatia (back in 2002). The people were friendly, the food was delicious and cheap, and the country was absolutely beautiful. I would love to learn some of the language and return someday.
I have gone to Spain (2016 and 2018) with the exchange that my district has with the Instituto Mariano Quintanilla in Segovia. The Spaniards come to Ohio in the fall and stay with our kids for a couple of weeks and then we go there the following spring during our spring break and either the week before or after. We take every other year off. Although we are very busy leading up to hosting and traveling, this is one of my favorite parts of my job.
I served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve with H&S Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines in Brook Park, Ohio for six years. I was deployed to Al-Anbar Province, Iraq in 2005. I received an honorable discharge as a corporal in 2008. The lessons and skills that I learned in the service have served me well in my teaching in ways that I never could have imagined. I enjoy meeting with students who are considering the armed forces as a career.
I had the honor of serving with leaders like GySgt. Myers, Sgt. Nelson, Sgt. Gross, Cpl. Schialdone, Maj. Kasparian, and countless others who guided me during my time in the service (all ranks mentioned were current at the time I completed my contract). I am forever indebted to these men and know that they are doing great things to make the world a better place 10 years later.
You might be wondering about my site’s name, “TCI By The Lake.” My wife and I were fortunate enough to be able to purchase our dream property in September 2017. We bought a house on 18 acres (about half-wooded) in northern Union County, Ohio. The lake you see in the header is “Pac-Man Lake” (from an aerial view it is shaped like the 8-bit Namco character of 80’s fame). It is stocked with bluegill, largemouth bass, channel catfish, and some grass carp. Rocky Fork Creek meanders its way through our woods.
There is nothing that will take your mind off of life and work for a moment like taking a walk through the extensive trails in the woods or sitting in the shade of a willow tree by some water. The Japanese call this “tree therapy” shinrin-yoku. I have become enamored of trees since moving to the country. I think I might have been a naturalist if I had been born in a different century. It is incredible the way your mind can make seemingly unrelated connections and see problems in a new light through pattern recognition in nature.
One of the most intriguing things about forests and wooded areas is that they are always in a state of change. The emerald ash borer has been decimating most of the ash trees in our woods since 2003 when this pest was first detected in Ohio. Fortunately we have a healthy variety of oaks, maples, and buckeyes to make up for the standing dead ashes which I will be turning into firewood this summer and fall. We have a number of oaks that are well over 100 years old. I recently planted a pair of bald cypress trees in a marshy area by the lake. A catalpa tree is on my short list of trees to plant this coming fall. Eventually I would like to plant our east property line with Norway spruces.
One of my favorite things about where we live is the wildlife. There are birds galore out here! In addition to bluejays, cardinals, orioles, and hawks, we often see mallard and wood ducks that stop by for a swim. A pair of Canadian geese took up residence in our lake last winter, so we’re hoping to see them return any day now. Watching them fly low over the lake as they honk and make a skidding water landing like an Alaskan bush plane is a real sight to see and hear. The owls stay hidden but you can hear them at night.
A family of wild turkeys occasionally strolls through our property. The great blue herons that come to our dock and pick off my bluegill are the bane of my existence, but they are really fun to watch as they elegantly strut through the shallow water to ambush their prey and then fly away with their long legs perpendicular to ground.
Our property backs up to a cornfield to the south and soybeans to the west, so deer are quite common. We’ve adopted six or seven special needs squirrels that a local wildlife rescue organization needed a home for. Their nest boxs are nailed to large oak trees in the woods down the hill by the creek. We regularly see raccoons on our deck and the cracked-open mussel shells on the shores of the lake. The reptiles and amphibians I have seen include bullfrogs, northern leopard frogs, tree frogs, toads, and box turtles.
My summer plans for our property include adding to my fern/shade garden at the trail head, clearing some new trails, and filling in some tunnels that the muskrats dug on the shoreline. I just completed the first phase of my raised bed garden in which I will grow a variety of vegetables, herbs, and berries. I’m really excited about trying “Juliet” grape tomatoes this year. It’s a variety that supposedly resists cracking after wet weather. Since I grew up in grape country in North East, Pennsylvania on the shores of Lake Erie, I will eventually plant some rows of Concord grapes.
I look forward to getting to know you as we go through this journey together.
All the best in your TCI adventures,