‘The French are coming’ may have been a cry from the British more than 200 years ago, but it has been a much friendlier ‘invasion’ at The Armidale School this year with two additional French educators from other side of the world sharing their passion and skills with students from pre-Kindergarten to Year 12.
After having studied languages, and worked a tutoring association, Benjamin Menet, who comes from the small town of Bormes-les-Mimosas in the Provence-Alpes -Côte d’Azur region of southeastern France, wanted to have a first experience in the field of education, and to live in an English speaking country.
“I help with correcting tasks, and having one-to-one speaking and listening sessions with the boys and girls in year eleven and twelve,” he said. “ I also work with students in all year groups, from Transition, assisting them with songs, cultural work and even French cooking.”
Mr Menet learnt about TAS in his home village from a friend, Joan Mackie. Before retiring to France, Ms Mackie taught for many years at Aiglon School in Switzerland, which resulted in a teaching exchange to TAS, a fellow member of the Round Square association of schools.
“I’m living on campus and really loving it. The students are great,” said Ben, who has just spent Excursion Week with Year 5 at Myuna Bay. He is also playing and coaching football at the TAS.
Sarah Moser from Chicago, chose Australia for the practical component of her Masters in Education which she is completing through Indiana University.
“I applied to the Global Gateway program which provides opportunities to learn and teach overseas, and Australia was the country that interested me most,” she said.
Ms Moser has been co-teaching junior secondary students and the very youngest TAS boys and girls in Transition (pre-Kindergarten), with Junior School Extension and Enrichment and French teacher, Mme Anne Hine. She is also working with Middle School French students, in order to experience several different levels of teaching and learning.
“It’s quite different to the schools I’ve been used to at home, being both an independent school and a boarding school,” Ms Moser said. “The students have a different, deeper classroom relationship with the teachers probably because they have a lot more to do with them because of boarding life.”
Ms Moser has visited Cairns and Sydney during her time in Australia, and accompanied Year 10 on their excursion to Canberra.
Languages coordinator Mme Kathryn Tamminga said the students had gained much from their presence.
“One of the most enriching experiences for language learners is to have the opportunity to participate in authentic experiences with a native speaker, as it allows them to extend both their language and cultural knowledge first-hand,” she said. “Having the experience of working with Ben and Sarah this year allows students to come in contact with people who view the world differently and, as a nation that is physically remote from other countries, it gives students the opportunity to engage with language educators from around the world.”