Instructor Corner by Marissa Mitchell

In truth, the opportunity to teach beginning French with the Nashville Community Education Commission fell in my lap. My French professor at Belmont informed me of the opening; I contacted Philip and haven’t looked back! It has been an initially terrifying, sometimes humbling, incredible learning experience for which I am immensely grateful. Not only am I able to share my knowledge of the French language with others, but I also have the opportunity to form relationships with students whom I never would have met otherwise.

My first class at NCEC was the first time I taught adults, and I was nervous. I envisioned stepping into the classroom at the top of the hour and immediately forgetting all but how to say, “Bonjour!” Fortunately, that did not occur, and I had the most wonderful group of students a first-timer could ever ask for! My students were excited to learn, which gave me the confidence I needed to really challenge them.

Over the course of our six weeks together, classes French I and II work on conversational skills through building vocabulary, understanding grammar skills, and practicing fearlessly! I love introducing new concepts with music and games. We often begin class with a song, then practice what was learned the week prior. Repetition is key in truly internalizing new concepts; this is especially true when learning a foreign language. I try to create and maintain an open and “safe” environment. No matter how many times we mess up, it’s important to keep practicing together to increase comfort level.

One of my favorite moments is the last class of the six-week course. In celebration of all the progress everyone has made, we have a grand Francophone party! Everyone who is able brings a French-themed food item, we decorate the room, and we socialize en français using the skills we have learned and enjoying each other’s company! I hope whatever class you are taking at NCEC you dive into wholeheartedly! That is the best way to pick up new skills – and make new friends!

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