Katherine Chiasson

I am a French Teacher with the Halifax Regional School Board

What pushed you to enroll at Université Sainte-Anne?

When I finished my undergrad degree in French at St. F.X. University, I really wanted to continue to improve and refine my French language skills. I knew that if I wanted to speak, write and read the language as much as possible, attending a Francophone university would be the way to go. I knew Université Sainte-Anne had a great reputation and some of my former teachers had attended there as well.

What was your experience in the program like?

From the minute I walked through the door in the morning until the time I left, I only spoke French. Even though I had been studying and speaking the language for 10 years, I still sometimes struggled with confidence. However, as the months went on, my confidence actually grew, because of all the practice I got speaking with my classmates.

How is your career a perfect fit for you?

I have a real passion for what I do; going into work every day and sharing something I enjoy so much with new language learners is very rewarding. I can relate to my students' experiences as I also started French immersion in Grade 7. I can appreciate when they're feeling a little overwhelmed and confused, and having the perspective of a second language learner myself influences my teaching approach. I was also very fortunate because a few weeks after I graduated (in May 2007), I received a full-time position with the HRSB teaching French. I'm now in my tenth year of teaching.

What would you say to people looking to get into a career similar to yours?

It's a career that requires you to play many different roles. Besides an educator, you're often a parent, coach, psychologist, counsellor, event planner and most importantly, a cheerleader. There are challenging times and a learning curve when you actually set foot in the classroom, but if you genuinely enjoy it, stay inspired to learn more and trying new things, you'll always find ways to connect with students.

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