The moment one enters honors French I and II teacher Nathalie Deines’s classroom, he/she is met with lively French music, colorful words, a large French flag and the teacher’s smiling face. Here, learning a language is cultural immersion, a chance to step into France for a period. This week, The Sidekick has decided to spotlight Deines as Teacher of the Week.
Where are you from?
I am from Antibes, which is [in] the south of France, the French Riviera. It is a beautiful place.
What do you enjoy most about your time in France?
I really enjoy my family. I have a sister there, and she is married and has two boys. My mom is still there. So I really enjoy my family, my friends, visiting, going to the beach [and] eating a lot too.
How many years have you been teaching French?
I would say five years. I decided to become a French teacher because I really love my language, and it’s a great opportunity for me to pass on my knowledge and my culture. I do not regret it because it is awesome, and I love Coppell and what I’m doing right now.
Why do you love teaching French?
Well, you know, it is a lot of fun. I really enjoy it. It is not a game, but I entertain myself [and] the kids, I hope. It’s just fun. The other day, we talked about my different experiences in France. I moved around; I lived in Paris, I lived in Strasbourg. I moved here 15 years ago and I was telling [my students] how strange of a feeling it is to pack all your life in one container and go across the ocean and start a new life. And they like to see my experience as a French native, and [I] just try to show them what I know about the culture.
What is difficult about learning French?
Sometimes, you have to explain some grammar rules or some stuff that is very detailed. As a native, I know not everything, but a lot, so if I see a mistake, sometimes I really have to do my homework and really search [to] make sure the students get it in a student point of view.
Why is learning a foreign language important?
People do not know how important it is to learn a foreign language. Now it’s not anymore about Coppell, Dallas, Texas [or the] United States; it’s about the world. People move around. When I started learning English when I was 10, I was like, “Why do I need to learn English? I would never use it!” And then you see me now in the United States being a teacher talking to you in English. It’s just something we have to [do]. French is spoken in five continents, so you can go work in Africa, in Canada [or] in Europe. It just opens so many doors. Whether it’s French, English or whatever, languages are just important for anything you want to do.
What are your significant life milestones?
I would say when I graduated college [Missouri State University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s in science and a teaching certification]. It was very important. I went back to college a couple years ago and it was so empowering for me. We learn all our lives, but when you go back to school and learn, you empower yourself and you choose to become educated, smarter and a happier person.
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Right now, I would say [spending] time with my family. We have four children [Corey, 30; Chris, 28; Megan, 25; Kimmy, 23] and right now, I have one in Kentucky, one in Oklahoma, one in Missouri and one in Arkansas. So really when we get a chance to get together and have a crazy time with the family. I like gardening, but here in Dallas, I do not have a yard yet so I cannot [garden]. But I like to have a garden in the summer and just enjoy my family.
How have your teaching experiences impacted your life?
Teaching is so empowering. I have four children so being with students and teenagers, I just like, not [just] the teaching part, but also the relationship that we have with students and just passing on my personal experience. So if I can help academically but also on a personal level, that’s who I am. I really like to connect with the students and be there for them no matter what.
What is your favorite phrase or word in French
Life is too short, so enjoy every moment of your life and enjoy the present. Profite du présent!
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