French student teacher starts full-time career next semester

“I remember one night, we were sitting on the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower. They don’t tell you this, but at night, the Eiffel Tower has all these beautiful lights, and all the people sit down on the lawn and everyone just has food and wine in the middle of the night,” recalled French student teacher Angela Knapp about her experience studying abroad.

In her freshman year of high school, Knapp took her first French class that inspired her to major in French. She attended Santa Rosa High School, moving on to Santa Rosa Junior College. She studied abroad in Paris for a semester before transferring to University of California Santa Cruz. Now, she is a student teacher at San Marin observing how to apply her learning from her education classes into the classroom. Most of the time, she assists the teacher. Knapp said it is useful to notice and reflect on how French teacher Jeffrey Moore handles things. Knapp is scheduled to teach the spring semester of French 1 and 2, starting on January 8, 2018.

“I’m a little nervous. I think it’ll be really fun, and I feel like with Mr. Moore’s support I will definitely feel a lot more confident,” Knapp said.

With Knapp teaching from January to June, Moore will be standing by and helping out behind-the-scenes.

“I’m going to try to utilize him as much as I can because he’s a great teacher, and I feel really fortunate to have him,” Knapp said.

Moore said he is excited about Knapp teaching and continues to support her in any way possible. He will not be present some days during Knapp’s teaching, but will always be helping out.

“I’m looking forward to her coming in and seeing what she does. It’s a great semester to experiment and, since she’s already been observing in here with French 1 and 2, it’s just a continuation,” Moore said.

He was introduced to Knapp in August, two weeks into the school year and already had great things to say about her.

“Totally positive. Not only willing to learn but very willing to teach too. She just has a totally awesome disposition and character,” Moore said.

Some students from French 1 and 2 are unsure of how the next semester is going to go, but are still appreciative of Knapp.

“I think it’s going to take some getting used to for some people in my class just because it’s a new teacher and she’s not as experienced as Mr. Moore. They’re probably going to take her a little bit for granted, so like a substitute,” freshman Devin Thompson said.

Students do enjoy Knapp’s company in the classroom even if they are a little uncertain.

“She’s a great presence to have in the classroom. She’s really uplifting and she is always smiling and willing to engage,” sophomore Howard Fry said.

Before she pursued the path of teaching French, Knapp was a chef for ten years.

“I loved [cooking]. But it’s hard. The hours are hard, it’s difficult physical labor, I got burnt all the time,” Knapp said.

She cooked during college to pay the bills and eventually improved her skills.

Knapp started substitute teaching for schools in Sonoma County and realized she preferred being in a classroom. She worked at different schools until she ended up at Lawrence James Middle School for two-and-a-half months teaching math and science to seventh and eighth-graders.

Knapp said that teaching was something that she needed to do and since she loves French, she might as well. “I’m student teaching in the one thing I actually want to teach.” Knapp said.

Knapp is currently engaged to her boyfriend of ten years whom she met on her studying abroad program in Paris. They are getting married in December of 2018.

Knapp said her experience so far has been fun and that she’s been learning many things about school education with her classes at Sonoma State. She also appreciates the students and staff at San Marin for being very welcoming and said that it has been a pleasure getting to know the students.