King and Kathan awarded French teaching assistantships

Dorothy Wickens

Two Lawrence seniors have their plans for the upcoming year secured. Charlotte King and Melanie Kathan have both been awarded teaching assistantships from the French government and will spend next year teaching English in France.
King, a double major in French and theater, originally applied to teach in France through the Fulbright program. The program, however, accepts so few applications for France that they have an arrangement with the French government to send recommendations from their pool of applicants. King’s was one of the applications that the French government accepted for the teaching assistantship.
Unlike many other people in King’s place, she knows that she’s been placed in Versailles, one of her preferences, a 20-minute train ride from Paris. Over the next year, King will spend 12 to 20 hours a week in another teacher’s classroom teaching English and sharing American culture. She has yet to find out if she will be placed in a high school classroom, but hopes this will be the case.
“I’ll try to do a liberal arts kind of thing and pick from different fields of study,” said King. Having spent a year in France during high school, King is familiar with the French school system and aware that lecture-based classes tend to be the norm. “I want to try to give French high schoolers more of a taste of liberal arts and being more discussion-oriented in the classroom. I don’t want to bore my students, like I was bored,” King said.
King was inspired to apply for the program based on her experiences in France. In addition to the year she spent in France during high school, King also studied abroad in Paris during her junior year. While there, King had an internship in theater arts, and she wants to go back to France because of the theater scene. King is hoping to make some time next year to participate in theater, potentially through the International Theatre School Jacques Lecoq.
Kathan, on the other hand, applied through the French embassy for the teaching assistantship program. So far Kathan knows she will be placed somewhere in Bordeaux, but beyond that, details are yet to be determined. The contracts for the program can be for either seven months or nine months, and they can involve either teaching or assisting 12 hours a week with students of various ages. Kathan’s first choice is for a seven month contract in a teaching assistantship with middle school age students.
Kathan wanted to apply for the program because she has never been to France before. Having majored in French and English and minored in music, studying abroad never really fit into Kathan’s schedule. She was also interested in teaching in France as a way to travel before grad school.
While Kathan is excited for the opportunity, she is also very nervous, having never done much traveling.
“It’s scary because I’m from Milwaukee and this is my first time going far away,” said Kathan. She is also nervous because she does not yet know the details of what she will be doing. However, Kathan is excited for the possibility of being placed in a small town in the country where she could have “a true immersion experience.”
As for the year after next, Kathan is unsure of her plans. During the fall, Kathan applied for both the French program and grad schools. She was accepted to the University of Oregon for a musicology program and may try to defer the acceptance. Said Kathan, “I’m not completely set on one program. I’m open to possibly deciding I want to pursue translation. Things might change.