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“Bonjour, mes élèves!” It was the first day of my junior year and I was welcomed into my French class with a cheery smile from my teacher Mademoiselle Koepke. I was concerned to start French IV with a new teacher (because in the past it had been a difficult switching from teacher to teacher), but I could tell this was not going to be the case. Mademoiselle Koepke made the first day with her memorable, even though we had all forgotten our French skills over the summer.
Traditional world language classes use workbooks, listening tapes, or videos to teach. But Mademoiselle uses conversation. She is a master story-teller and gets so involved that everybody is laughing by the end of class.
Life experience is important for any educator, and Mademoiselle has so much to share. From life experiences, students gain wisdom, not just facts from a textbook. She has been to so many places and has even lived in France. Her respect for other cultures is admirable and I hope someday I will have half of the stories she has.
Some may think world language classes aren’t as important as math classes or history, but life isn’t all about what is happening in my secluded world of Hartland, Wisconsin; instead, it’s about what is happening in the world around me.
Mademoiselle Koepke teaches with excitement because she is also excited to learn. Only the best teachers come to class ready to learn, just like the students.
For world language teachers, I believe it is more difficult to get the class interested in the subjects because some students might not care. But for Mademoiselle Koepke, it’s easy. She makes us laugh, she has us play games involving French words, and she sometimes let’s us watch French music videos on YouTube to learn about pop culture and what life is like in France. Mademoiselle Koepke is always ready to offer words of encouragement in English and in French. She makes you feel like you are succeeding.
I have never seen her angry or upset; she is walking sunshine. I just walk through the door and feel a bit happier. Going to French class is always an adventure, and because of this year, I plan to continue my studies in the French language.
Mademoiselle Koepke has taught me life is about learning from mistakes. I can’t always be right or have chosen the right words for the phrase, but I know the next time I’ll be able to succeed and pick up the pieces from where I left off.





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