June 2017

 Dear parents and guardians,

I'm already looking forward to the 2017-18 school year. Although I've been teaching French since 1998--first at the University of Washington and then at the University of Puget Sound--this will be just my 5th year at Stadium.  Every year, as I look back, I am truly amazed at how much I've learned from the young people I teach. Patience, tolerance, kindness, and a sense of community are the qualities I try to bring into the classroom. They bring me their energy, enthusiasm, humor, and a profound sense of justice. I am very lucky to have a job where I get to laugh every single day. 

Whether your student is taking 2nd year French (French 3/4) or AP French with me in the fall, I have some general goals and policies.

My goal is to create an encouraging, welcoming, and fun atmosphere. At the same time, French at Stadium is academically rigorous and students will be challenged.  Everyone is capable of mastering a foreign language. The best results come from a room where French is spoken exclusively. This is a bigger challenge with younger students because they tend to get discouraged quickly if they feel that they don't understand. Encourage your student to remain patient and persistent in the first few weeks. I will do the same. Let them know that it is normal to feel confused sometimes--it really is part of the learning process. Students will be expected to be in class every day-- ready to speak, listen, read and write. 

As a parent myself, I always want to know what I can do to support my son’s progress at school.  Here are a few things that I think will help your student succeed in French this year.

  1. Self-discipline with regard to cell phone use. Cell phone use negatively impacts learning. Contact me if you are concerned about this. You know your child. If you can't get them off their phone at home, think for a minute about how hard it is for a teacher with 32 students to get 15 or more students off their phone. By the time I've got one on task, I'm dealing with another, and then somebody needs a note signed, and then someone has to pee, and someone comes in late--I call it Whack-a-mole with a difference. The difference being that while I'm whacking moles, I'm supposed to be teaching French. 
  2. I will assign short, targeted homework assignments on Monday through Thursday nights. I find that if I'm consistent about assigning it and I keep it reasonable, they are really pretty good about getting it done. Please let me know if your student is spending more than 20 minutes on French homework. I’d like them to take 10-15 minutes every night and focus on French, but I don’t want the work to overwhelm them. 
  3. Encouragement : It takes a long time to be able to put together sentences in a foreign language, so don’t be alarmed if they can’t say much.  Don’t say things like “Really? You’ve been in that class for two months and you can’t say your name?”  Instead, say “It’s hard at first, isn’t it? I know you’ll get it. Just keep working.
  4. If your student is absent for more than one day of class, please contact me. I promise I will write back and tell you what they have missed. 
  5. If your student is struggling, please encourage them to see me during lunch or after school. Ten minutes of individualized instruction can work miracles. 
  6. I am really careful when I mark a student Tardy. If your student says I am mistaken, contact me to verify. I do make mistakes and I will have it removed. However, if you are seeing several tardies on their attendance, please get in touch with me so we can figure out how to get them where they need to be on time. 

My position at Stadium is part-time, so I’m on campus from 10:30 to 2:30 each day.  The best way to contact me is by email : sevans@tacoma.k12.wa.us.  I respond within 24 hours, and usually much more quickly.  I am always happy to arrange to meet with you at your convenience.

Thank you so much,

 

Sandy Evans, Ph.D.