French program finds full-time teacher

September 17, 2015 — by Fiona Sequeira

After searching for a qualified full-time French teacher for the first month of school following the unexpected departure of the original teachers, the administration has found Elaine Haggerty, who will teach all five levels of the program.

 

After searching for a qualified full-time French teacher for the first month of school following the unexpected departure of the original teachers, the administration has found Elaine Haggerty, who will teach all five levels of the program.

Haggerty’s goal for the school year is to help students of all levels improve their French skills and knowledge of French culture and to prepare her French 5 students for the AP test.

“I want to enthuse everyone about the language, especially my French 1 students,” Haggerty said. “I was excited to see that so many students signed up for French 1. They can spread the word and keep the program going.”

French students are looking forward to progressing in the French language by benefiting from a qualified teacher.

“I’m really happy that we finally have a teacher,” said junior Daviana Berkowitz-Sklar, a French 4 Honors student. “I hope we will be able to take our French skills to the next level and get prepared for future high level French classes.”

Haggerty received her bachelor’s degree in French from San Jose State University. While in college, she studied abroad for a year in Aix-en-Provence, France. Upon her return, Haggerty earned her teaching credential from San Jose State and completed her student teaching at Monta Vista High School.

In 1990, Haggerty began teaching French at Wilcox High School in the Santa Clara Unified School District. She taught French 1-4 and French 5 AP, and was the advisor for the school’s French club. After teaching at Wilcox for eight years, Haggerty decided to take a break from teaching to stay at home and raise her two sons, who are now ages 15 and 19.

When Haggerty returned to the work force after eight years at home, no jobs were available teaching French. Bidding au revoir to French, she began teaching sixth grade math at Castillero Middle School, where her sons went to school.

But after nine years of teaching math, Haggerty wanted to return to teaching French.

“Castillero tried hard to keep me on board as a math teacher, but I was tired of it,” Haggerty said. “I have about 15 years left in my career, and teaching math was not what I wanted to do with my life. My passion has always been French.”

One of Haggerty’s ideas for this year is to take her French students on an immersion trip that will improve their French speaking and listening skills.

“While I taught at Wilcox [High School], I took my French students on a 48-hour French camp at Walden West,” Haggerty said. “They spoke only French all weekend. It would be cool if we could make a trip like that happen here.”

Haggerty is excited to join the SHS staff and to return to her true passion of teaching French.

“I’m elated to be here. [Principal Paul Robinson] says that I’m going to rescue the French program here, but really, it’s going to rescue me,” Haggerty said.

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