Senior lands competitive teaching position in France

Carrollton senior Haley Dermody, sitting in the Vara Martin Student Plaza holding a copy of the French play “En Attendant Godot,” was recently awarded the opportunity to teach English in Lille, France.
Jed Dean | Lariat Photo Editor

By Jade Mardirosian
Staff Writer

A Baylor senior has earned a highly coveted position working for the French Ministry of Education as part of the Teaching Assistant Program in France.

Carrollton senior Haley Dermody was chosen to participate in the program from among thousands of applicants from the U.S. and Canada.

“I was so excited,” Dermody said. “It was such a relief to finally find out.”

Dr. Michael Boerm, lecturer in French, has taught Dermody and said he was pleasantly surprised to learn she was accepted to the program.

“I was really happy because it’s a really competitive position,” Boerm said. “She’s really motivated and really enthusiastic.”

Dermody will be working as a teaching assistant and rotating among three different middle and high schools for 12 hours per week in the city of Lille, located in the north of France. The program begins Oct. 1 and ends April 30. About 18 other teaching assistants will also be placed in Lille.

Dermody studied abroad in the Normandy region of France in the city of Caen this past fall through Baylor’s study abroad exchange program and is looking forward to being immersed in the French culture once again.

“I cannot tell people how much [living abroad] helps with languages,” Dermody. “I’m sure that by the time I come back next year my French will be even better. Also, getting to discover new culture, northern France is different than Normandy for sure.”

Boerm said Dermody will gain a lot from her position as a teaching assistant.

“She’s going to learn a lot more about the French culture and the French education system. It’s very different from our education system,” Boerm said. “The whole experience of living abroad is something she can’t replace and will live with for the rest of her life.”

Dermody said she began taking French her freshman year at Baylor by chance. She majored in both nursing and psychology before finally deciding on a major in French.

“Professor Boerm helped explain what you can do with a language major and that made me more confident to change,” Dermody said. “After I switched to be a French major, I assumed I would go to grad school or teach high school. The more I thought about it, I really wanted to go back to France, so this is a happy medium.”

Dermody said she may try to attend graduate school or possibly teach French at a high school when she returns from France next year.

Boerm encouraged Dermody to work hard and enjoy her time in France working as a teaching assistant.

“She wants to be a teacher when she comes back so she needs to not be discouraged and just take it one day at a time,” he said. “She is going to run across all kinds of obstacles and challenges while teaching in France and will just need to learn what she can. If she learns something new everyday she will be fine.”