I realized I loved teaching after my first class. I think I even saw stars. I had plenty of odd jobs before, during and after college that helped me refine my goals. When I started teaching a few years ago, I loved seeing, listening, and reading the progress of each student. It is so clear when a student experiences that critical moment in languages when they leave the fear behind, and just start communicating.
My path to Millbrook School probably begins with my birth. My mother immigrated to the United States from France and raised my brother and I speaking only French. She and I have never spoken in English, and we probably never will. During college, I studied art history and spent my junior year abroad in Paris, France. After college, I received a teaching fellowship from Phillips Academy at Andover, where I began teaching French. I also coached two sports and was a dorm parent. I wanted to make sure boarding school was the right fit for me, so I took a year to reflect while teaching English in the southwest of France. Ultimately, I found Millbrook and made it my home in the Fall of 2013.
I teach French III, Pre-AP French V, AP and a Literature course. French III is a low intermediate French course that focuses mainly on becoming comfortable with the language and creating more complex language in different time frames. Both Pre-AP and AP focus on broader and more abstract themes that enable each student to speak about the six global themes of esthetics, science and technology, the search of self, family and community, contemporary life and global issues. Though the literature course varies from year to year, it is designed as a rigorous overview of selected Francophone literature, poetry, short stories and films. Recently, we studied a breadth of Québécois films and are moving onto looking at works of Caribbean writer Maryse Condé.
I strive to make each class as communicative as possible. Instead of conjugating verbs precisely and repetitively, students should be communicating with one another and gaining confidence to speak every day. Each class is related to common, every day themes linked with francophone culture.
In the language department, I am the co-department head as well as the director of the World Language Community Service group. Outside of academics, I am the Varsity Field Hockey assistant coach and one of the JV lacrosse coaches. This year I am a dorm parent in Clark.
I'm a life long learner and the professional development opportunities that Millbrook enables me to pursue keeps me engaged both as a teacher and a student. Every day that I am able to get students excited about French language and culture is fulfilling. That being said, I can't pinpoint just one fulfilling experience, because education is more about the process than one simple moment.
The beauty of language classes is the spontaneous and non-traditional "teaching moments" that happen constantly. It's okay to get a little sidetracked in class as long as people are engaged with the material, speaking in the target language, and discovering something new along the way. If I see that an activity is going especially well, I just let it ride until it dies down. It is always surprising what students unexpectedly latch on to, or become impassioned about.
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