Heart of Harker: Lessons learned teaching French


In this repeating guest column, we encourage all student writers from around the community to share their memorable experiences while at the Upper School. Please email all column ideas to [email protected].

by Antoinette Gathy, Guest Writer

After teaching at Harker for 17 years, I am leaving with countless wonderful memories. I would not if I had worked anywhere else.

-Lisa, a student in French III, came one morning before class and asked me a question about the quiz she was going to take that day. A friend, who was accompanying her, whispered in her ear; Lisa blushed, looked at me and apologized for not saying “Hello Mrs. Gathy” before asking her question. Only in Harker.

-Since Robert was having difficulties in my class in spite of being a gifted learner of French, I had a talk with him one day after classes. The next morning, the first thing he did was coming by my classroom and telling me “Thank you for caring”. Only in Harker.

-Mrs. Elchert, the nurse, called me once during office hours to ask me if I could come by in order to give a student, who was getting sick and needed to go rest at home, her oral test because she did not want to miss it. Only in Harker.

-I had a few students who attended their French classes in spite of being excused because of an AP exam the same day. Only in Harker.

-If a test is coming soon, when asked if they want to play a game to review the vocabulary or work on grammatical exercises, some classes will choose the latter. Only in Harker.

-I have taught many students whose forte was not foreign languages, or at least not French, who gave 100% in time and efforts to the class, so they could do a perfectly decent job. Only in Harker.

-Several students always enter the classroom with a warm greeting, and never leave without saying good bye and thanking the teacher for the lesson. Only in Harker.

I could go on and on … Students: you guys are all amazing! I have kept every card, every note you gave me, I have a big box full of them. When I am retired, I will open that box each time I need a little pick-me-up.

I will miss you.

Madame Gathy

Vijay Bharadwaj
Antoinette Gathy is a French teacher at the Harker Upper School. She plans to leave at the end of the 2017 school year, having taught students for 17 years at Harker.

This piece was originally published in the pages of the Winged Post on May 11, 2017.