This is my seventh year at Woods and 26th year of teaching. I teach French 1, French 2, French 3 Honors, French 4 Honors and AP French Language and Culture.
I grew up in the San Francisco bay area. Back in those days, you could find me either at a Giants game or more often in the French, Spanish and German bookstore not far from the French consulate. The monthly trip to the bookstore was worth the 40 mile drive into the city, as it was the only place in the pre-internet age where you could get access to hundreds of books in foreign languages! I had begun my French studies at the age of six, and thanks to a long line of dedicated and inspirational French teachers, I was hooked on the language, the culture (and later on), on teaching. While in high school, I was privileged to go to Paris for a summer and live with a family, the first of many trips to what would become my second home.
I left the Bay Area after high school to complete my studies in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and again came across excellent teachers. During those years, I was able to travel to France more and lived and worked in Bordeaux, Metz, and Dijon. Living in another culture, however well you think you know it, is just like school. You are challenged every day to reconsider your interactions and values. In 2002, I took a job for what I thought would be just a semester teaching high school French in Durham, but a six month stint in North Carolina turned into nearly 14 years. During that time, I had two daughters. We love living in the Triangle but when another opportunity came up a few years ago to spend a year in France, we took it, settling in Montpellier in the south, a new area for the whole family. Fortunately, I was able to join the Woods community after returning to the Triangle in the fall of 2016.
The best part of teaching a language is realizing that you never know everything. There are always new expressions to learn, new linguistic evolutions to discover, new connections between French and English to marvel at, new Francophone cultures to explore and deeper nuances of identity to ponder. This dynamic nature of a language and the diverse peoples that speak it is what motivates my teaching. Having lived in France for several years, I have been privileged to come to know French as a tool for communication, a gauge of a people’s values and lifestyles, and ultimately as a lifelong friend. I am honored to take you on this journey of discovery of one of the world’s most beautiful languages and its myriad of associated cultures. I hope to find my students saying as Thomas Jefferson (may have) said more than two centuries ago, “Every man has two countries : his own and France”.
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