French teacher

On Friday, when I locked my classroom door, I completed 26 years of teaching French in Chappaqua, New York. Although Spanish is still more popular (and I teach that as well), we have a large group of French students who begin at age 10. Most of them continue their studies through high school and beyond.I am passionate about all things French. I am American, but was educated at the Lycée Français. I have lived and studied in France and Switzerland.What interests me most on this page is your effort in promoting the study of French. When I hear "Spanish is more useful" I cringe. To tell the truth, the fact that I speak French has opened more doors for me than Spanish ever will.I would like to receive your input on how to convey to parents that if a child wishes to study French, they should not be dissuaded by "pop thinking".
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  • OK, it didn't work! any suggestions????
  • Hi!
    I'm going to try to attach the document of which I spoke...if it doesn't work I'll come up with another way to get it to you. It has been examined by quite a few people so it should be pretty accurate at this point! If it can help you - please feel free to use it!
  • I agree with you Claudine. I also teach Spanish but my love is French. My classes have less French students because Spanish is taking over! It is so sad! They do not know what they are missing! I always show pictures of my trips in France , movies, songs... I try to transmit to them all that I can about France and the francophone culture...Let's keep doing it!
  • All preceding comments are totally corret. In my experience, an exchange is most worthwhile. French music and movies are also very present in my classroom.
    A suggestion:It is a good idea to do a unit on French and francophone companies in the US. Take a look at French companies listed in the CAC 40 (the French Dow) (Here is a list too: and have students check their subsidiaries in this country. Sites like and other job sites will also give you job postings where French is necessary..
    Going back to the difference between French and Spanish: I often point out the Spanish starts relatively easier than French, but then gets more complicated, especially with the conjugations... It has many more tenses...
  • Eventually it shouldn't be the parents who make the decisions about which language a kid takes. A kid should take what he/she wants. A good program speaks for itself and word of mouth from the kids who take French. I think perhaps Spanish classes are popular because (in our school) there are a lot of fiestas during the year! But my French film class is very popular and always full to capacity. Perhaps a way to introduce French to kids who need to make language class choices would be to use your best French students to do fun little presentations to lower school or elementary school students. I do that with my best high school students who have been inducted into the French National Honor Society. One of their "community service" duties is that they have to go teach numbers or colors or whatever to lower school students. This might influence them to take French and keep going with it because it looks like the older kids are having fun. I also have my kids participate in the Grand Concours and really prepare them well for it. I believe there is a FLES part of the Grand Concours. How about doing a French day where the kids sell crepes or things they make and then that night there could be a French night where there are presentations from kids and songs, etc...
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    Teachers' Corner. Le coin des profs. Teachers can post their resumes, exchange ideas, start discussions.
  • Madeline- If you can send me your pamphlet or info- I would greatly appreciate it. I teach in CT, in a district with a high latino population and I get the same attitude about their child taking French vs Spanish. I emphasize many of the the same reasons for taking French as cited by others below- culture,history, use, international recognition, but would like to make more of an appeal to the community too. Merci!
  • Bravo Madeline! I will get right to it!
  • Bonjour à toutes et à tous,
    I taught French (and Spanish) for 36 years in public school and have been teaching pedagogy and French on the college level since my retirement 4 years ago. French has always been my first love - and has served me far better in general than my Spaniish.
    I would like to encourage you to continue to "push" French and would also like to direct you to the AATF (American Association of Teachers of French- and The World Speaks French ( websites. The AATF is in the process of completing an advocacy packet that is awesome and contains information brochures, letter templates, calendars, etc. I also have a "Quick Facts for French Teachers" pamphlet that gives quick answers to some of the common negative statements given about French. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail if you would like me to send it to you.
    On Long Island our programs have been greatly threatened (and in some cases eliminated) due to low enrollment or the advent of "new" languages (primarily Chinese). We (as francophiles) need to continue our efforts to raise public consciousness about the importance and facility of learning French. Too often as French teachers in NY we forget to stress the importance and proximity of Quebec as a source of French culture. The use of contemporary Quebecois music has always been an important part of my teaching and sparks interest due to its similarity to American pop music.
  • Génial, Vincent!
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