Project Description

Lower & Middle School French

B.S., Loyola University Chicago


Who are your mentors?

I have a confession to make: I am not the original Madame Haskins. The fabulous original is my mom. She has been a high school French teacher for nearly 50 years at the same school, and she is amazing. She still keeps in touch with so many of her former students and many of them to this day still consider her their favorite — and best — teacher.

I have such fun memories of my sister and me as young children going to school with mom to play animals in her class productions of “Cendrillon” (Cinderella), making pâte à choux cream puffs for her to bring to school for her French Club, watching “La Boum” or listening to Edith Piaf and Francis Cabrel.

Though I learned many French songs and expressions from her as a child and certainly benefited from hearing her excellent pronunciation my whole life, my mom did not directly teach me how to speak French. She did, however, teach me how to be a dedicated and creative teacher. Her passion for teaching and for French language and culture were passed on to me, and I am so thankful.

Why do you choose to teach at Morgan Park Academy?

In many ways, I feel like MPA chose me — or at least, I got lucky! Coming to MPA in 2002 was a career change for me. In first choosing a career, I fought my obvious teacher traits so I could be “different” from the oodles of teachers that make up my large extended family. We live and learn, right? After a few years of the corporate grind, I just knew it wasn’t for me. Through a thoughtful family friend and a stroke of luck, this job and this school found me, and I’ve never looked back. Now, choosing MPA each year is easy. This school is home. I love teaching French, I think the students here are awesome, and I truly adore Morgan Park Academy.

What do you want your students to take away from having known you?

What I love most about teaching a world language here is that I get to teach many of the same students from year to year. I get a chance to really get to know them and watch them grow up. Over the years, they get to know me well too, so it’s important to me that I’ve been a positive influence in their lives, not just in their language learning.

I want my students to move forward with a broader, more well-rounded understanding of the world and of language, yes. I want to have sparked an interest for the French language and francophone cultures, yes. But equally important to me is to have taught them that taking risks often pays off, that you can be rewarded by stepping outside of your comfort zone.

I want them to know that their choices matter. I want them to know that you never have to outgrow or abandon your imagination, your silly side, or your inner child. I want them to trust me, and to know that I am here for them if they need me. I want them to remember my classes with a smile. Yeah, that’ll do.