Good Talk: Madame Stroud

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Good Talk: Madame Stroud

photo by Samantha Solenday

photo by Samantha Solenday

photo by Samantha Solenday

Samantha Solenday, Assignments Editor

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Why did you become a teacher, and specifically, why French?

In high school, the subject that clicked in my head was French. I was okay with math, and I was okay with the math-based sciences, like physics, but French class was a class where I felt like all the pieces fit, and that was good. So I followed that feeling and just kind of continued with it. Deciding to be a teacher was more — I wasn’t sure exactly where I was headed with French. I knew I wanted to speak French, and I knew I wanted it to be a part of my life. And once I started taking some teaching classes in college, and I started to actually get into classrooms and things, I realized that that’s where I wanted to be. That part came kind of afterwards, but it was a good fit too.

A lot of French students also had you at NAI. How is teaching at NASH different from teaching at NAI?

It’s really different. Some of these poor kids have had me now for four years — not a lot of them at this point, but a couple of them will next year. It’s been really neat to see how different everybody is at this point from how I remember them as freshmen and sophomores — how their writing has grown, how their ideas have grown, and the things that we can talk about in class now. It’s nice teaching an upper-level French class where we can have discussions about things that are going on in the world in French, as opposed to “my favorite room in my house is  XYZ.” It’s nice to have those upper-level questions.

What’s your sales pitch for why people should take French?

Why people should take French, as opposed to the other languages? I mean, my sales pitch for any language is that it’s going to open up an entire world of traveling and exposure to other cultures and things that you can’t get really in another classroom. French particularly, even though everybody knocks on the pronunciation, I find to be the most beautiful of the Romance languages, and I find it to be the easiest for an English speaker to pick up as far as the grammar. It’s very similar once you get into it. It is poised to be the most spoken language by 2050 in the world, so it’s coming, and it’s a good thing to get yourself invested in now because it’s really growing leaps and bounds.

Have you ever taken any other language classes besides French?

In order to graduate from my Masters program, I had to show proficiency in another language, so I chose Italian. So I speak a little bit of Italian, and I can understand way, way, way more than I can speak at this point because it’s been like ten years.

If you could teach any other subject besides French, what would it be and why?

Does it have to be not a language? Can it be another language? If it’s another language, I’d like to learn Spanish. I think that would be fun. Or learning or teaching another Romance language I think would be a nice connection.

Best vacation you’ve ever been on?

After I studied abroad in France, in Paris, I stayed for another three or four weeks and went through the south of France, Switzerland, and Austria, and that was something I knew I was never going to be able to do again, so that was definitely the best vacation.

Favorite movie?

Dumb and Dumber. It’s my favorite movie of all time. I can quote the whole thing!

Favorite musician or band?

I am stuck in early 90’s grunge, and as much as people have tried to pull me out of it, I can’t. And my favorite band of all time is a band called Silverchair, who are now probably really old, but I always go back to that.

Favorite way to spend your free time?

I have three kids, so they are my free time. They are seven, five, and two, so that’s all I do.

The Uproar is aware you graduated from NA. What are the biggest similarities and differences from when you went to NASH and now?

Similarities, I mean some of the teachers are here that I had, which is awesome. And the relationship between teachers and students has always been so unique here, where it’s such a strong bond, and that really hasn’t changed. Just watching my colleagues and how they interact with students, that has not changed at all. Differences, I think it’s a lot more stressful on the student end. I don’t remember being as stressed out, really, when I was here. And I’m sure that’s kind of a cultural thing, where there’s more going on with the college application process than there was even fifteen or twenty years ago when I did this. That would probably be the biggest difference.

Most interesting fact about you?

Is there anything interesting about me? Geez, that’s a hard question! I played basketball in high school. I boxed a little bit in college — maybe that’s interesting. If you’ve seen me in public, you’ve probably seen me pulling all my children through a store or something like that, and I appreciate everybody’s patience with them. That’s really about it.

Do you have any advice for current NASH students?

I would say enjoy what’s to come. I remember being excited to get out of high school, and it’s a big step, and that was when I really started to come into my own and started to make things work for me. Be excited for the things to come instead of being stressed out about the things to come. Try to find the joy in that, instead of the stress.