Naomi Graham

This bio is just fun to read:
My name is Naomi Graham.  I started teaching in middle age, when my husband and I moved to a small rural community in Upstate New York where jobs were scarce.  I have always loved learning, my mom was a teacher, so education was always a part of my life.  I had to go back to school and go through an alternative certification route.  I have an artistic bent, I wondered whether to get my degree to teach Home Economics or French, and boy, I am glad I chose French!  Home Economics doesn’t exist anymore, and instead of just sewing, those teachers now teach parenting and sex education and study skills and home budgeting.  Yuck!  I studied Latin in High School, and fell in love with French when I started taking night classes at a local junior college when I was still in high school.  French was followed by Italian when I went to college, and I enjoyed a wonderful junior year abroad in Italy.  I ended up with a degree in Italian Language and Literature from UCLA, and started study for a Ph.D. in Italian to be a University Professor, when I realized that the political nature of a university campus was not my cup of tea, so I turned back to school to get a degree in … Fashion!  Like the cutthroat world of fashion was going to be a better choice!  I worked in the fashion industry in NYC for about 5 years before I met my husband, who convinced me to follow my inner muse and remove the makeup.  When we moved from NYC to Upstate, I fell back on my love of languages, which had never really diminished in my life.  Teaching French has taught me French, and I share my love for the culture, flavor and sounds of the beautiful language with great enthusiasm.  This is my 12th year at the same small public school.  Due to population shifts, a school that was 500 students K-12, 12 years ago, is now only 350 students, K-12.  Scary, the population attrition is a regional issue, not helped by poor economic opportunity situation.  My classes are small and I get to know the kids well, starting their exposure to French in elementary school and continuing with them through high school.  As amazing as it sounds, and in spite of the fact that all the other rural schools around here offer only one language (Spanish), due to a very supportive superintendent, my tiny school offers a choice of foreign languages to our students, either Spanish or French.  I have also been able to teach electives in Italian and Latin.  I struggled terribly in my first two or three years of teaching.  It is amazing that I did not get fired.  My students hated me, I couldn’t figure out how to get them to listen to me or learn anything.  Ten years ago I started hearing a little about TPRS, I experimented with it in the classroom.  I was in the workshop with Blaine Ray in Albany NY on Sept. 11, 2001.  I left that workshop when the planes started falling from the sky, worried about my husband and dogs and home, but I have since taken more workshops with Susie Gross, Carol Gaab, Laurie Clarq – amazing people who have helped me to unleash my inner creative, imaginative, loving teacher.  My students are wonderful, enthusiastic, energetic people.  I adore them and we have fun in just about every class every day.  I am grateful for the gift of cooperative co-creation of learning that the TPRS masters have revealed to me.  I still have so much to learn, but I am instituting more little techniques that make our learning and teaching happen more effectively and amusingly every year.  The Inner Circle Blog is a great source of information for me, but I rarely/never participate.  I would like to participate more, but I am not sure about the filming thing.  It seems a little weird.  I like watching the teacher who posted, but I can’t imagine who would like watching me.  And I am also pulled in about a million directions, between raising money and organizing for an exchange trip to France this year (they come here in October, we go there in February!!!), teaching one class a semester at a local SUNY college in Italian (try to do as much TPRS in that class as I can, too!), and organizing National Junior Honor Society community service activities.  Trying to run a home-based craft business.  Oh, and we are trying to buy a house.  And just trying to take care of my family.  Life gets busy. Okay, so long for now.
Naomi Graham
[Ed. note: and, of course, Naomi, there is absolutely no requirement to post video. None at all. It’s just for those who want to.]



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