After her freshman year, Kim swore she was going to quit French because she liked Japanese better and she wanted to learn Chinese, too, and also, in her words, I was crazy. My student teacher at the time, Molly Davis, and I smothered her with our love and convinced her to stick with French for one more year. We saw such potential in her and I wanted just one more year to see how much I could teach her.
Fast forward three years and Kim is still with me in AP French. It turns out we just can't quit each other. Sure she still has problems getting to class on time--not my class, just a few of her others. And...sometimes I have to offer her a little grace when she doesn't have her homework ready on time. Kim is smart and ambitious and carries a lot or responsibility in her family. When I offer her a small amount of extra time, I get her best work from her.
Not only is Kim in my AP French Language and Culture Class but she serves as a Peer Tutor in two of my classes. In one class, she facilitates an independent study I have with an AP French student. Basically, she re-teaches this student what I taught in AP the previous day. In the other peer tutor class, she attends science class with a student from the Democratic Republic of Congo who barely speaks a word of English. She helps interpret instruction from his teacher and translate his homework and quizzes. She puts in countless hours learning the vocabulary necessary for teaching science in French. This student has bonded with Kim so much that I call him her "shadow". He follows her around like a little brother and she helps him navigate his school day and make friends.
This year Kim is the co-president of the American Sign Language Club at school. She continues to study Chinese and she has ambitions to learn Arabic. She is proficient in French (performing between intermediate-high and advanced-low levels of proficiency).
Kim says, "After high school, I plan on going to a university and finding a career that will allow me to do what I love: learn about new people, experience their language and culture, and work with them to facilitate peace and understanding. Learning languages is my passion and I'd love nothing more than to use it in helping othes reach a common goal."
This summer I am leading a group of students to France. This is an expensive trip and not every family can afford it. Kim has a job and has to keep her GPA up to qualifiy for scholarships so that she can go to college next year and follow her dreams. I love taking kids to France but I hate the fact that the price of the trip automatically excludes those who don't have the disposable income to pay for this luxury. I was talking to my teacher friends one morning and Mrs. Lester said, "I can give her some money." Then Mrs. Habersack said the same. Then Ms. Davis said she had some money saved up. For a moment I felt hopeful that maybe, just maybe, if enough of us chipped in, we could send Kim to France and get her started on her goal of learning about new people and experiencing new cultures. No amount is too small if we all pitch in together!
- Molly Davis
- Edwin Shouse
- Alexandra Simpson
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