I was born in Burin on the Burin Peninsula and I lived in the small communities of St. Lawrence and Lawn until I was eight years old. My cousins from Saint-Pierre-et- Miquelon used to visit my family regularly and I always told my grandmother that I wanted to talk like my francophone cousins. When I was eight years old my family moved to Dunville, Placentia Bay, which is where I began my formal study of French in Grade 6 in 1964 at St. Anne's Elementary School. My first French book was called "Totor et Tristan", which I still have in my book collection. I still remember our teacher pronouncing the words just as I know they are pronounced (today). I attended Junior High School in Placentia, where, in Grade 8, I had a francophone teacher for French, M. François Derrible from Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon. I found Grade 8 to be a very interesting year and I truly believe that it was in Grade 8 that I decided that I wanted to be a French teacher. I continued my study of French throughout High School and University. I studied at Memorial University of Newfoundland and I spent time studying French in Saint-Pierre-et -Miquelon and at Laval University in Quebec. I graduated with my BA and B.Ed. and later completed my Masters in teaching at Memorial University.
I began my teaching career at Xavier High School in Long Harbour in 1972. My teaching duties included French from grade 7 - 11 and later in 1983, French 3201 was added to my course load when the high school program was reorganized. I taught in that school for 17 years and enjoyed every day of my time there. During my years at Xavier I traveled with students to Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Québec and France. I was a member of several working groups with the Department of Education: French 3201 Development Committee, French 3201 Public Exam Committee, Marking Board for three years, 1983- 1985 and the National Core French Study Provincial Committee. In 1990, I accepted a position with the St. John's Roman Catholic School Board at an all boys school, St. Bonaventure's. I was the French teacher in this school and my teaching duties included French from Grade 4 - 8 and some homeroom duties at the grade 8 level.
In 1991 I was contracted by the Department of Education to write student handbooks for French 2100 for Distance Education delivery. I was then, in 1992, seconded by the Department of Education to deliver French 2100 and French 2101 via Distance Education to several small schools in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. During that year, I developed French 3200 for Distance Education and taught it the following year.
Previous to and during my time teaching via distance I realized the impact that technology was having and would continue to have in the domain of Education, so I decided to hone my skills in technology and it became, like French, a passion of mine.
In 1996-1997 I developed French 3201 for delivery via Distance Education, but I did not teach this course via distance. It was in 1997 that Distance Education was decentralized and I returned to my school, St. Bonaventure's, where I taught French in grades 6-8 and I had grade 6 homeroom duties. I introduced my Grade 6 class to technology across the curriculum and the response that I received from the students was very positive. It was during that year 1997 - 1998 that St. Bonaventure's school was slated to close, so I began my search for something else. I was reassigned to a position within the Avalon East School Board, however, I was successful in my application for the position of French Implementation Specialist with Avalon West School District and thus requested a leave of absence from Avalon East.
I spent 3 years working at Avalon West School District which I enjoyed tremendously. My position was 75% French Program Specialist and for the other 25% of my time I was seconded to the Department of Education as Provincial Department Head for Distance Education French. I was indeed thrilled to be involved again with Distance Education. My interest in technology continued to grow and I assisted teachers and classes of students in using technology in theme projects. You can see one of these projects by visiting the website of Akerman Elementary School.
During my third year at Avalon West, the French Program Specialist funding reduced the position to 50%, I retained the Department Head duties and I was assigned Distance Education teaching duties. I delivered French 3200 via Distance Education to three small schools in the Avalon West School District. I assisted a new school in its Late French Immersion start-up and I helped deliver a summer school session to students entering this French Immersion Program. I found this to be a very rewarding experience, however, the duties of all three major parts of the position were very demanding.
In April, 2001, I was seconded to the Department of Education to develop French 2200 for a web-based pilot. During the time that I was working on the development of this web-based course I presented myself as a candidate for the position of French Development Specialist with the Language Programs Section of the Program Development Division of the Department of Education. I was successful in my application and I began my new position on September 4, 2001.
In this position I worked with Core French teachers all around the province. I was responsible for delivering professional development for new programs and for establishing committees for program development and various other projects. During my last year at the Department I applied for a new position with the Division of Evaluation and was again successful and I became a test consultant. In this position I established two working groups whose mandates were to develop a CRT for Grade 9 English and a CRT for Grade 9 Core French. This was my last project at he Department of Education. I officially retired in June, 2003 and I can honestly say that my career was varied and thoroughly interesting and enjoyable.
During my career I planned and facilitated several professional development sessions for teachers in every position that I held. While working with the Placentia St. Mary's Roman Catholic School Board, in the absence of a French Program Specialist, I attended Provincial meetings and delivered sessions to French teachers in the School Board. While at St. Bonaventure's School, during the 1997-1998 school year, I facilitated a Technology session for the teaching staff. During my three years at Avalon West School District, I facilitated several PD sessions on French Second Language Pedagogy and Technology Integration in the French Curriculum.
Another option that I availed of with my teaching experience and my French second language Education was accepting to be a per-course instructor at the Department of French and Spanish at Memorial University. I began to do per-course lecturing in 1989, when I was on a semester of Educational leave and studying at MUN (Masters Program) and I continue to do so today. More recently I have prepared the two first-year French courses for distance delivery and I teach these two courses in the Fall and the Winter semesters. Since 2003 I have also taught the French methods courses in the Faculty of Education. Currently I am the French Education Liaison Officer at the Faculty of Education.
My career as a French Second Language Educator has been very varied and rewarding and I credit this to having studied French and Education and having taken a real interest in technology. I have welcomed change because I consider change to be such an important component of growing professionally. If you are considering a career in Education, I highly recommend that you study French. French teachers are in demand! We need you!