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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

TLFA Presents Teacher of the Year Award to Madame Macharia

Courtesy of Mme Macharia
Holding her trophy, Madame Macharia poses for a photo with her fifth block class. On Nov. 4, Mme Macharia was named the Texas Foreign Language Teacher of the Year at the Texas Foreign Language Association Conference.

When Mme Anne Pham-Macharia was in sixth grade, her teacher told her she wasn’t good enough. An immigrant from the war-torn country of Vietnam, Mme Macharia had to quickly adapt to her new home in Paris. When it came time to choose foreign languages for the following year in middle school, her teacher discouraged her from taking German, pushing her to take English instead, as she deemed her French not good enough.

“I said, ‘Who is he to tell me that I couldn’t take German? I totally could do German,’” Mme Macharia said. 

Mme Macharia would continue to learn not only English but take German all throughout middle and high school. 

“I never want my students to feel that way,” Mme Macharia said. “So that’s why I decided to become a teacher. People should not be treating students that way, and [telling] them what path they should be taking in life.”

A tenured Westwood foreign language teacher, Mme Macharia’s love of languages began with her unique upbringing. Mme Macharia was born in Vietnam, but once the Vietnam War began she and her family moved to France. After 12 years in Paris, Mme Macharia and her family relocated once more, this time to Calgary. Mme Macharia became fluent in three languages: her maternal language of Vietnamese, a second language of French, and finally English. 

“I’m grateful that I got to live in different countries because I had to learn those languages in a natural way,” Mme Macharia said. 

Despite exposure to a multitude of languages, French remained Mme Macharia’s passion. 

“French has always been my love language, I love teaching French,” Mme Macharia said. “I love the language, I love the culture, I love to show my students different parts of the Francophone world.”

However, Mme Macharia is grateful for her time across the world. The friendships that she’s fostered continue to influence her and her classes to this day. 

“Living in different countries, you do have different perspectives on how people act, behave, speak, and the way they view the world,” Mme Macharia said. “It has really affected me as a teacher because of what I do now with my students. We’ve had pen pals from France, Belgium, Benin, [and] Senegal. I want my students to experience that [so] they have an opportunity to exchange in an authentic way and to practice their French, and they see the value of language acquisition.”

Growing up in the often harsh Parisian school environment, Mme Macharia has experienced all sorts of teachers. From demoralizing instructors who discouraged her from challenging herself to a new language to an endlessly supportive history teacher, each classroom experience helped shape how Macharia wanted her students to feel in her own classroom.

“I wanted to really help students find the best of themselves, in a way, and have them discover different perspectives, [and] ways of thinking.” Mme Macharia said. 

On Nov. 4, Mme Macharia was named the Texas Foreign Language Teacher of the Year at the Texas Foreign Language Association Conference. A massive honor, Mme Macharia was selected out of all the foreign language educators in Texas. 

“I was so happy. I was surprised, of course, but the best feeling was [the teachers in the] department, there were eight of them, all stood up,” Mme Macharia said. “And they were cheering for me. And I could see every single face. And they were so happy for me. I felt the love, I felt so touched. That made it really special.”

Mme Macharia will go on to represent Texas at the SouthWestern conference in Honolulu, Hawaii where she will compete with foreign language educators from across the country. The winner will advance to the National Conference. 

“It is a wonderful honor to represent Texas. I am very thankful and honored that my peers and my principal nominated me,” Mme Macharia said. “There [are] so many teachers who are worthy of this award. I’m sharing this award with my department and my students who helped me become a better teacher every day.”

Going forward, Mme Macharia hopes to continue to not only grow as a teacher but also to help her students grow into nuanced thinkers while fostering a love of language and culture. 

“[It’s so rewarding] watching [my students] learn and get better,” Mme Macharia said. “I’m so lucky, I get to teach a lot of students for three or four years straight, so I see the progress. I see how they mature in their thinking, [and] have their mind just open up to different perspectives. Their international mindedness blows me away, and how they become more accepting of other people’s differences in the classroom, but also outside of the classroom. We build this classroom culture [where] we’re like a family, [and] where students feel supported and trusted.”

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Mayla Montgomery
Mayla Montgomery, Reporter
Class of 2026
I have always had a passion for writing and telling stories, and I am so excited to be working on press this year! When I’m not writing, I love watching my favorite shows, watching all the horror movies in existence, reading books, listening to music, and spending time with my friends and family.

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