Stephanie Derfeuil

 

Bonjour et bienvenue!

I grew up in the San Francisco bay area. Back in those days you could find me either at a Giants game or more often in the French, Spanish and German bookstore not far from the French consulate. The monthly trip to the bookstore was worth the 40 mile drive into the city, as it was the only place in the pre-internet age where you could get access to hundreds of books in foreign languages! I had begun my French studies at the age of six, and thanks to a long line of dedicated and inspirational French teachers, I was hooked on the language, the culture (and later on), on teaching. While in high school, I was privileged to go to Paris for a summer and live with a family, the first of many trips to what would become my second home. 

I left the Bay Area after high school to complete my studies in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and again came across excellent teachers.  During those years, I was able to travel to France more and lived and worked in Bordeaux, Metz and Dijon, where I met my husband. Living in another culture, however well you think you know it, is just like school. You are challenged everyday to reconsider your interactions and values. In 2002, I took a job for what I thought would be just a semester teaching high school French at Durham Academy in Durham, but a six month stint in North Carolina turned into nearly 14 years. During that time, I had two daughters. We love living in the Triangle but when another opportunity came up last year to spend a year in France, we took it, settling in Montpellier in the south, a new area for the whole family.    

The best part of teaching language is realizing that you never know everything. There are always new expressions to learn, new linguistic evolutions to discover, new connections between French and English to marvel at, new Francophone cultures to explore and deeper nuances of identity to ponder. This dynamic nature of a language and the diverse peoples that speak it is what motivates my teaching. Having lived in France for several years, I have been privileged to come to know French as a tool for communication, a gauge of a people’s values and lifestyles, and ultimately as a lifelong friend. I am honored to take you on this journey of discovery of one of the world’s most beautiful languages. I hope to find my students saying as Thomas Jefferson (may have) said more than two centuries ago, “Every man has two countries : his own and France”.

This year I will be teaching French 1, French 2, French 3 Honors, French 4 Honors and AP French Language and Culture.  I am thrilled to join the Woods community! 

Please email sderfeuil@woodscharter.org any time or to see syllabi and other course information, please visit http://sderfeuil.wixsite.com/monsite