Jes-C French begins teaching career at HHS
August 26, 2020
Being a brand-new teacher while starting school during a global pandemic will give new Language Arts teacher Jes-C French an advantage: she doesn't know what things looked like before. French, a Holyoke native, begins her teaching career at Haxtun High School this week.
"People keep telling me things will look so much different this year, but I wasn't here before, so it will all be new to me," French said from her desk in her new classroom.
French grew up in Holyoke and graduated from Holyoke High School in 2007. After high school, French moved to Massachusetts where she attended Amherst College obtaining her bachelor's degree in psychology. Once finished with college, French made a big move again, this time to Texas where she accepted a job as a resident parent at a Christian boarding school. She spent six years in Texas at the North Central Texas Academy and that's where she met her husband, Jimmy. The two later married and returned to Holyoke where they've made their home since 2017.
Jimmy, originally from Brooklyn, is the math teacher at Holyoke Junior/Senior High School, a job he took over when French's sister's position was left vacant. French's sister obtained her alternative teaching license from BOCES and taught math in Holyoke for several years. The alternative teaching program is one French will also take part in.
Since returning to Holyoke three years ago, French has worked as a reporter with The Holyoke Enterprise, a job she hopes will help her in her new role as Yearbook Advisor, an add-on to her position as the language arts teacher at Haxtun. Additionally, she will also serve as the National Honor Society advisor and the junior class sponsor.
French said her decision to teach sparked from her time with teens in Texas. While serving as a resident parent, she also did some substitute teaching and it's something she enjoyed. She also wanted to get back to working with kids, especially teenagers. French said she also has a fond appreciation for the English language.
As school starts this week and students return to the classroom for the first time since this spring when in-person learning was suspended due to COVID-19, French said she is most excited to help students find their niche.
"Everyone has their own inner reader, writer or speaker and I am excited to help students find that; to help them find their own interests," she said.
While this year is an unusual year due to the pandemic, French said she is still excited to have students in the classroom and get things underway. "I am confident that administration and fellow teachers have been doing their part to make sure it is smooth and safe for students," she added.
As school begins this week, French said she plans to focus on forming and building on relationships with students. Especially with the possibility that remote learning could take place at some point during the year. "Obviously, that's even more important this year," French said.
In addition to a new language arts teacher this year, Haxtun students will return to a new curriculum for the subject. The school recently purchased and is in the process of implementing new curriculum from McGraw-Hill titled StudySync.
When she isn't in the classroom preparing for the new year, French said she and her husband enjoy traveling, nature and anything outdoors, reading and watching movies. She is also active with the Phillips County Players theater group.
"As a Holyoke native, I am looking forward to getting to know this half of the County better," said French.