Editor’s note: this address was given by Dean of Faculty Peter Valine during Assembly on September 26, 2018.
The Northampton School for Girls Instructorship was established in 1999 by alumnae of the Northampton School for Girls to note the importance of that school in their lives, and to support the focus on the education of young women that remains a part of the commitment of the merged schools.
It is perhaps not surprising that the new recipient of the Northampton School for Girls Instructorship adopted teaching as a career choice. Her passion for languages and teaching was instilled at an early age by her mother who is a native French speaker and a long tenured university professor of the French language. Williston is fortunate that our honoree decided to bring her love of languages and her innate curiosity of peoples and culture to our community seven years ago.
In the classroom her students discover the French language through an immersion experience. She transports her students to a Francophone world by persistently requiring them to think, speak, read, and write in the French language. While this demand stretches them and at time causes them discomfort, they are willing to take these risks because they realize that she is wholly dedicated to their success. She encourages and guides their learning through her expertise, her kindness, and her patience.
Her students find her passion for French contagious. She enriches the study of the language by delving deeply into French history and culture. She is a creative and artful lesson planner who effectively serves students with different learning styles by incorporating games, videos, partnered conversations, and song lyrics. Musique Mardi, for example, has been a classroom staple as she employs contemporary music videos as a way to reinforce vocabulary and grammar. As one of her students recently wrote on her student feedback form “she makes learning fun, which makes me excited to come to class each day!”
French students also appreciate the time she invests in their growth. She clearly defines the concepts they are learning, she offers frequent feedback, she is universally accessible, and she is meticulous in correcting homework so that each student is aware of his or her mistakes and knows how to fix them.
She has embraced a leadership role in our community with her efforts to celebrate and promote global cultures and diversity. In her years at Williston she has been active in working with CID, the Multi-Cultural Student Union, and she is a strong advocate for students of color in the our community. She is also a proponent of experiential education organizing and leading student trips to Winter Carnival in Quebec City.
She is a dedicated colleague who works closely with her peers in sharing best practices and shaping a vibrant French curriculum. She is a team player who possesses a generous spirit and does what is needed to serve the students and the school. This year, for example, she is teaching five classes with four preparations demonstrating her strong work ethic and her versatility in working with students across the French curriculum from Middle School French I to French V electives in Readings, Composition, and Francophone Themes. She models for all of us the attributes of responsibility, camaraderie and professionalism.
One of her students recently wrote that she admired this teacher because “She respects and supports each person and treats them as an individual.” I admire this Northampton School for Girls recipient because this statement represents not only the manner in which she treats her students, but also represents the way that she has chosen to live her life. In appreciation for her zealous commitment to teaching, her selfless support for her students, and her staunch promotion of cultural understanding…..
It is my pleasure to award the Northampton School for Girls Instructorship to Adeleen Brown.