TAPIF Recipient Ella Franklin ’21 Looks Forward to a French Teaching Career

July 12, 2021

Yvonne Gay

A computer lab with students wearing headphones and working on computers.
The Cooper International Learning Center in Peters Hall.
Photo credit: Richard Howard

Ella Franklin ’21 plans to pursue a career as a teacher of English abroad or as a teacher of French in an English-speaking country, which makes receiving a fellowship in the Teaching Assistant Program in France a perfect fit.

“I think [French] is a beautiful language and culture. Everytime I visit I’m reminded of the beauty of the French way of life,” says Franklin, who began studying the language in the 9th grade.

A portrait of a girl standing in front of a shrub,
Ella Franklin '21. Photo credit: Courtesy of Franklin

Franklin, a French major and education studies minor, graduated from Oberlin College in three years so she could spend her would-be fourth year living in France and teaching. “This [fellowship] is the perfect experience to round out my degree,” she says. “My two main goals are to improve my French, and gain valuable language teaching experience. I think it will be very interesting to work in a French elementary school, and I’m excited for the learning that’s ahead of me.”

The Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) offers recipients the opportunity to teach English to French students of all ages for seven months. Each year, over 1,500 American citizens and permanent residents teach in public schools across all regions of metropolitan France and in the overseas regions of France such as French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion. The American cohort is part of the larger Assistants de langue en France program, which recruits 4,500 young educators from 60 countries to teach 15 languages annually in France. Franklin plans to begin her TAPIF experience in late September.

According to Franklin, the TAPIF will complement the French exchange programs she undertook two years earlier in her hometown.

As part of the 2018 Lexington Sister Cities program in Kentucky, Franklin lived with a French family for three weeks and assisted a French peer upon their stay in the U.S. The following year, she returned to Deauville, France, for two months and undertook an internship at Micro-Folie Deauville, a digital art museum, library, and community gathering space. Franklin also shadowed and resided with three Sister Cities teaching assistants, occasionally shadowing them in school. The experience sparked her interest in teaching English in France.

“English is a challenging language to explain and teach, so I know there are challenges that lie ahead in TAPIF,” says Franklin. “I’m excited to see how teaching English will be different when it’s in an elementary school [setting].

“Like any educator, I hope that I can positively impact my student’s lives. If I finish TAPIF knowing I’ve had a positive impact on just one student, I will be happy. My high school French teacher had a huge impact on my life.” 

Franklin is also the recipient of the Lahaurine-Johnston French Memorial Prize, and served as an English for Speakers of Other Languages teaching assistant.

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