Name: Lachelle Davis-Monnett
School: Kalispell Middle School
Language(s) Taught: French & Spanish
Years of Experience: 4
Education: BA in Modern Languages and Literature - French K-12, Art K-12 (and almost Spanish K-12) from MSU
What is the most rewarding part of your career as a language teacher?
For most of my students, I am their first contact with foreign language. Although I wish our district offered more at the lower levels, it is so rewarding to be the one who gets to open students’ eyes to two entirely new worlds: the culture of a foreign language classroom and the culture and language of our target language. Watching their energy, excitement, and curiosity explode as they learn and play with language is one of my favorite things. AND I get to experience all of this fun while seeing them begin to cultivate a deeper understanding for diversity and each other.
What is one personal or professional goal that you have for yourself, your school or your department?
Well, I’m currently wrapping up the final steps for my Spanish endorsement through Montana State University. That’s definitely my top priority to finish as far as my professional development goes. Also, as the sole foreign language teacher in the biggest middle school in Montana, I would like to create more awareness within my school among staff and students alike about the opportunities and importance of foreign language education. I plan to accomplish this by developing more active language clubs and more language opportunities for students in the coming year (when my Spanish endorsement will be finished!).
What is one of your favorite travel experiences?
I haven’t taken as many trips as I plan to, but I do think that my time in France in the summer of 2017 was trop top. During this trip, I spent time in Paris and then I did a backpacking trip all the way around Mont Blanc. The Alps were an especially special portion of this trip because they are a combination of the outdoors and French. I went by myself, but ended up hiking with a few new friends, including this Spanish-French family that adopted me for a few days. One member of this family made me laugh so hard out of complete exhaustion as we approached the mountain pass on the Italian border when he said, “Je sens les pȃtes” (I smell pasta). I was really pushed physically throughout the TMB, but even more so linguistically during these few days with this family, switching from French to my then mediocre-at-best Spanish (which is still slightly mediocre). After the Alps, I spent some time in southern France to work on a farm and to visit the Pyrenees. I volunteered on an organic farm. I worked with and learned from people from France, Spain, Morocco and Guadeloupe, cooking dinner, harvesting plums, caring for alpaca and goats, avoiding the pushy donkeys, and working in the garden.
Do you have any advice for other world language teachers?
Keep trying new things! Don’t fall in love with ideas. Keep coming to MALT, because I need you and the collaboration you provide. :)