Deborah Ball

I was an avid French language student since high school. Our teacher was so dynamic, conscientious and passionate about French and was my source of inspiration. I have fond memories from those days and even today strive to re-create the same atmosphere in my classroom.

I knew I wanted to become bilingual because of the positive experience in high school. I enrolled in MUN in 1984 and was lucky enough to have Felix Park for the first course, 1050. Within a few weeks, he proposed that I move on to the 1051 course, thus qualifying for the Frecker program in Saint Pierre. In January 1985, I was en route to Saint Pierre, where I thoroughly enjoyed this immersion experience-so much, in fact, I returned for the Spring semester and the Lycée program. By the time I returned to the St. John’s campus, I was taking third and fourth year French courses. The professors were supportive and the classes were interesting.

Being functionally bilingual offered job opportunities with L’Ecole du Samedi of CPF, the MUN Language laboratory and teaching Government employees. I was only 19 years old but able to find lots of part time work teaching French. When I was completing my first work term in Commerce a couple of years later and my employer transferred to a teaching role, I knew I was meant to be a teacher. I completed the degree in Education and haven’t looked back.
I was hired in French Immersion at a time when there were few Anglophones in those teaching positions. The standards were very high as were expectations of parents.

My first position was in A.P. Low Elementary in Labrador City, which I loved. It was a fantastic school for a first-year teacher and I gained much insight into the world of education. A family tragedy caused me to leave Labrador and move back home. Luckily, I was hired for the “lead immersion” class at Grand Falls Academy Elementary. Again, this school was a marvelous training ground for a new teacher but it was challenging to develop a program for the first time. I spent several years teaching Grade 6 before being “bumped” to the high school. Well, this is my niche in teaching. I love working with senior students . My passion for French has not diminished in all these years and I am proud to see my students achieve in French. Like my high school teacher, I am their inspiration to strive to perfect their second language and take their place in society.