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Savannah and her amazing husband in Old Montreal

Savannah, UIC B.A. in Teaching of French, 2004


My language journey began as a young child living in the bilingual city of Montreal. My parents were anglophones who recognized how important it would be for their children to be fluent in French due to the newly imposed language laws in Quebec. I attended French immersion elementary school, and then an all-French high school before we eventually relocated to the Chicago suburbs before my 11th grade year.

I continued to study French, although I was already fluent, when we arrived in the U.S. I was able to travel with my high school on a three-week exchange program to the suburbs of Paris. Touring Paris, and the Loire valley was a life changing experience for me. I fell in love with France! The trip solidified my decision to pursue a career as a French teacher—I wanted to share my love of French and French culture with students.

While attending College of Dupage, I completed all of their available French course work, and then all of their Spanish classes too. I transfered to UIC and had the most incredible, inspiring professors. I met my best friend, and we loved our long philosophical discussions about literature over many, many cups of coffee. My course work covered topics from medieval literature, to Quebecois lit and film, and everything in between. I had never been a “reader”—but something about French literature just really hooked me.

I completed my student teaching at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, IL. Upon graduating, they offered me a job as a French and Spanish (!) teacher. To my surprise, I had completed nearly enough course work while at C.O.D. to receive a Spanish teaching endorsement. I took one more conversation class at UIC the summer after graduation, and in August, began my teaching career!

I have spent the last 16 years teaching all levels of French, and the first level of Spanish at WVHS, I have led two student trips to France, and will be heading to Montreal and Quebec City with 20 youngsters this March. I have an amazing husband, who taught himself French when we got together. He read all of my high school textbooks, and then dove into novels. He hesitates to speak (even though he speaks very well) but he understands me completely when I speak to him in French. I am trying to teach my own children French, but they are a little reluctant. They do have “Je t’aime” down, so, I celebrate the small victories!

I am grateful for my language skills, and proud of my career as an educator. I have had several students pursue their own careers using French and Spanish, and I always love to hear their stories too!