The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

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Teacher Tribute: IB Language Teachers

Millbrook’s International Baccalaureate (IB) is a prestigious program for students to challenge themselves in various classes. The diploma program is present in over 150 countries and there are over 5,000 schools that offer this program. Language classes are a huge part of the IB curriculum and many options are available for students. 

An interview was conducted with multiple Millbrook IB language teachers : 


The first to be interviewed was the IB Chinese teacher. One of Ms. Chen’s. students, Mia Shoun says, “Ms. Chen always makes her lessons so engaging and interesting. She also really takes an interest in all her student’s lives and cares about us as students and people.”


         1.   What is your favorite thing about teaching a language? 

Witnessing Student Progress: I love to see my students’ language proficiency grow over time. Seeing students gain confidence and skill in expressing themselves in a new language can be incredibly rewarding.

Cultural Exchange: Teaching a language often involves exploring the associated culture. I love sharing my culture, and I love my students sharing theirs! I love to travel to different countries to visit my students!

I have a little story to share, [it] just happened last weekend. A student I taught seven years ago in the United States recently became a director. She specifically flew back to Taiwan from the U.S. to shoot a film, and it includes a lot of content about her cultural experiences when she first came to Taiwan! It’s fascinating! There are also reports about her on the internet, mentioning her Chinese name, which I gave her then. So, I believe that cultural exchange can create many wonderful sparks.

  1.   What made you want to become a teacher? 

When I was 23 years old, I went to the United States to teach Chinese for the first time. I went to Minnesota, and at that time, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a teacher because I hadn’t yet found a reason to support my teaching path. It wasn’t until one day when I went skiing with a friend. In my home country, Taiwan, we don’t have snow, and I didn’t know how to ski. I kept falling and couldn’t get up. Eventually, I asked my friend to go ahead and play while I practiced on the side. I practiced for almost an hour, and I still couldn’t do it. Just as I was about to give up, a girl skied up to me and offered to teach me. I told her I was not smart and couldn’t learn. She said, ‘I’m a teacher, as long as you don’t give up on yourself, I won’t give up on teaching you.’ I was deeply moved at that moment. So, she and I practiced for over an hour in the freezing ski resort, and I learned. The feeling of sliding down the slope was amazing and very fulfilling. At that moment, I told myself I also wanted to be a teacher who works hard and loves her students, just like her.

  1.   What do you hope students take from your class/ teaching style? 

I still clearly remember the excitement of seeing snow in the United States for the first time. I screamed with excitement just like the children in the class. We watched the snow drifting past the window slowly into the sports field. After the school bell rang, each student couldn’t wait to grab their snow trousers and struggle to pull on the heavy clothes with their little hands. I suddenly heard many children begin to giggle and say, “Mr. Chen! You put everyone’s snow pants on backward! We can’t go potty!” I felt too embarrassed to laugh, but suddenly another student spoke up in broken Chinese: “Bu xiao. Chen Laoshi shuo Taiwan meiyou xue! Chen Laoshi bu hui mei guan xi! Laoshi keyi xue! (Don’t laugh. Teacher Chen said Taiwan has no snow! Teacher Chen! it’s ok! You can learn!)” I nearly cried. From that moment, I think my core teaching philosophy is “love.” I hope that through love, students will enjoy

learning languages.


Next up was the French teacher, Ms. Demeny. Student, Elise Strickland said, “Ms. Demeny  provides a safe, comforting classroom environment and I look forward to her class every day.” 

  1. What is your favorite thing about teaching a language?
    In language classes, you can learn anything! Food, celebrations, history, environmental issues, travel, culture… Do you want to learn it? We can make it happen. Languages are imperative for existing in the 21st century and can open so many doors for new friendships, professional opportunities, travel, and just being better global citizens. Being able to teach French at the high school level is special to me because it was my high school French teacher who sparked this love of languages and international cultures in my own life.

  2. What made you want to become a teacher?
    I’ve always wanted to do something where I could use my French and stay connected to my Belgian heritage. When I was in fifth grade, I would spend a few hours each month with my school counselor to work with some kindergarten students in our ESL program. She let me create lessons, coloring pages, cultural activities, and games to engage these students, and I had so much fun doing it that I knew early on that I wanted to be a teacher. Teaching French seemed like the best career to combine these two things.

  3. What do you hope students take from your class/teaching style?
    I hope that my students learn to have fun in everything they do and to continue challenging themselves beyond what they already know. Learning a second, or third, language isn’t easy- but it can help you in all areas of life! When students leave my class, I want them to stay curious and constantly seek opportunities to learn more about the world around them. 

Then, we heard from the IB Spanish teacher, Mrs. Amaguayo. There are so many students in IB Spanish that it is the only language that has two classes! Student Maddie Wild says, “I am challenged each day in this class and it helps my learning. I enjoy learning and improving my Spanish every day in the classroom.”

  1. What is your favorite thing about teaching a language?
    My favorite thing about teaching a language is how it brings students closer to different cultures and how, while opening their minds to these new cultures and traditions, they also learn and reflect on their own.
  1. What made you want to become a teacher?
    I believe that being part of a person’s learning, growing, and maturing process is what excites me most about being a teacher. As people, we can google any piece of information, but we need guidance to help us grow as positive human beings.
  1. What do you hope students take from your class/teaching style?
    I definitely hope students will get a different perspective on things. One in which other viewpoints, settings, and traditions are not “weird” but “different”. I hope to provide a safe, judgment-free environment where students feel understood, while they learn and grow.

Last is IB Latin teacher Dr. Gentile. Trevor Oldson says Dr. Gentile provides a “loving classroom and connects with her students.” 

  1. What is your favorite thing about teaching a language? My favorite thing about teaching Latin is getting to know my students throughout their high school careers. I love seeing how much they change from freshman year to senior year. 
  1.  What made you want to become a teacher?
    Honestly, I never planned to become a high school teacher. I just sort of fell into this position. But I do love it…most of the time. 
  1. What do you hope students take from your class/teaching style?
    I know that most students won’t take Latin after high school. I hope that students remember Latin class as a fun experience where I pushed them to learn new things and improve their analytical reasoning skills.
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About the Contributor
EvanKate Page
EvanKate Page, Social Media Director
 Hey everyone, my name is Evan Kate! I am currently a Senior at Millbrook. Here at school, I participate in Best Buddies, the Pickleball Club, the Care Club, and the French Club. I also am a member of English, Science, Humanities, and French Honor Societies. Outside of school, I enjoy going to the beach, hanging out with friends, being outside, and baking desserts. I am thrilled about this year and meeting new people. Thank you for checking out my work; I hope you like it!

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