Dr. Didier Course, Professor of French

Scene at Hood: Take 15

I grew up in France and I’ve been at Hood for 17 years. The students are a lively group, and they want to learn. The foreign language department is a wonderful place to work. My colleagues are extraordinary, and there is a great vibe in the department. We read books, we write books and we like to talk about them! We are friends and colleagues.”

“I always liked teaching. I discovered the profession when I was 23, and I enjoyed it so much! At that time I was working in a high school in France. I liked being part of the process to become, and to help others become better human beings.

“I needed to learn to speak English to improve what I was doing in France. I came to the USA for a year, to the University of Wisconsin. At that time I was working on a graduate project and I learned, completely by accident, that one of the best specialists for this lived in Pittsburgh. Then, I went to grad school there. Life sometimes takes you in a direction that you do not expect, and this was a good one.

“I looked at a survey, and for Americans in general, their worst memories of education are math classes and foreign language classes. I understand that, because I went through that, too. When you learn a foreign language, you go back in life. You go back to a point where you are a child. You have to learn basic grammar and basic ideas. You may be an adult, but you have to go back like you were four or five years old. It can be so frustrating. Then, you go back to learning to say something like, ‘I like bread!’

“When I’m not teaching, I’m traveling. That’s my big passion. For me, I want to see as many countries as possible. Traveling for me is a source of inspiration. Also, let’s face it, I’m a geek. I love visiting libraries. I’m a happy man as soon as I’m in a library.

“I had a class do an assignment where I put them in groups, and they had to role play. One student played a young artist and another played an art dealer. The artist had to show the dealer how talented he or she was, and try to make a sale. One of the students did this caricature of me!”

~Didier Course, Ph.D., professor of French

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