Aline Jourdrin is French, but she has spent half of her 10-year career teaching overseas, first in Myanmar and then with us at our Jersey City campus. For the last few years, she has taught chess as an afterschool activity, and this November she chaperoned a group of chess players to San Diego for the AEFE Chess Championship. We asked her three questions about her teaching experience and philosophy.
Why do you teach?
“I have always enjoyed working with children and being able to participate in their education. I hope that what I teach them, whether it’s pedagogical or human, will serve them later and stay with them. It’s a very dynamic job, in constant motion and clearly not boring. Like many children, I love to learn, and this job allows me to learn new things on a regular basis.”
Why do you appreciate teaching at the French American Academy?
“Working in a bilingual environment, especially with another teacher from an American cultural background, has made me a much better teacher. I love being able to exchange ideas with her and being supported in my ideas (or held back if I go too far!). The children come from different cultures, which I try to emphasize in class and discover for myself, as well. It’s sometimes difficult to deal with children who don’t speak French. So you have to reinvent yourself and find other techniques to help them progress, both in language and in other areas.
At the FAA, I particularly enjoy working with a small number of students. This allows me to differentiate my practices and to really get to know the children and their families. I think this really sets the students up for educational success.”
What projects are you particularly excited about this fall?
“Another thing I like about this school is the ability to work on projects. I think it’s a great way of motivating children to learn and to discover new subjects. In the autumn, my first-grade colleagues and I decided to work on dinosaurs. We’ll be studying documentary texts on the subject, making artwork and so on. We will conclude our research with a visit to the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. We have other ideas to make this a fun event for the kids (but let’s try to keep it a bit of a surprise!).”