Ms. Kaufman is the language department’s newest French teacher. Since she is the third consecutive French teacher since my freshman year at Xavier, the language department now has a higher turnover rate than the Trump administration. We caught up with her for an interview to include in our Teacher Spotlight series.
Have you worked in education before and if so, at which level?
I have, and at almost every level. I taught at high schools in Maine and Miami. After this, I taught international students in France who were preparing to enter the university system. After my children were born, I did not teach full time, but I taught a night program in California for older people that was much less intensive. Next, I taught AP classes in San Diego to fluent speakers.
What led you to teach French?
My grandmother was a French teacher at my Catholic school where I grew up, she was a role model for me. I actually majored in English and was an exchange student twice; once in Oregon and then at Penn State. By the time my second year in this country concluded, I knew I loved it, I wanted to stay, and that I had a passion for teaching. Despite all those factors, it was my fascination with English that originally drew me here.
How do you like Xavier?
I like it! It’s very different from where I’ve ever been, in a good way. It’s a different environment from where I have ever been before, an all boy’s school. Nevertheless, the sense of community is palpable and I think there’s something to be said for a school environment such as ours.
What has been challenging in transitioning?
I have experienced quite a few challenges, mostly tied to the fact that for the past four years, I have been home; so I had no commute. I’m used to being home for my children full-time, so transitioning from that to working full-time has been difficult. My husband’s help has been indispensible, and it’s a happy coincidence that due to the pandemic, he can work from home and help with the kids. More than difficult, the different dynamic took some getting used to. OnCampus was also very difficult to grasp at first. COVID obviously presented some challenges too, with the masks, classroom temperatures, and masks putting a significant damper on the social aspect of the class. I think the extent of the precautions taken by students is a testament to how much they truly want to be here.
Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I majored in English at the University of Lyons. This, as I said before played a larger part in my current circumstances than I ever could have imagined. Truly, my passion for English is what made me want to stay in the United States.
Any interesting hobbies?
I love to read, and cook a lot. I bake, I sew and my family and I enjoy outdoor activities. We enjoy hiking and rock climbing, we also kayak quite a bit. We enjoy traveling, exploring new places. Hopefully we can do that more as pandemic restrictions are relaxed!
Ms. Kaufman hopes to instill in students a passion for the French language and culture, and we at the Kestrel are excited to welcome her into the Xavier community.