French teacher Kim Young loves cracking the code of foreign languages. And she loves sharing that passion with her students at Ardrey Kell High School.
Young has traveled the world learning the different aspects of the French language and its culture. She uses her experiences to provide her love and respect for the language in her classrooms every day.
Young first took a foreign language class in the ninth grade. When she took French, she just fell in love with the language.
“I was really fascinated about the puzzle of language,” she said. “It was one of those classes that I liked. It came easy to me.”
In high school, she went up to French 4 and also took German.
After graduating from high school, she went to the University of Alabama where she majored in French.
Young has been a teacher at Ardrey Kell since it opened in 2006 and has seen plenty of change during that time.
Young said teaching has become more collaborative, with an increased emphasis on using technology in the classroom.
Young decided she wanted to become a French teacher because she loved the culture but also, “I love to share that language with people”.
But to become a French teacher, she needed major in education. Luckily for her, there was a program where she got both her master's degree and teaching degree, which enabled her to become certified as a French teacher.
Young taught in Maryland and Michigan before moving to Charlotte 15 years ago.
During her time at Ardrey Kell, Young has gained a reputation for being an excellent French teacher. For instance, she won the Knight of the Month award in the school year 2014-2015.
Young credits part of her success a teacher to not just knowing the language, but also to knowing the culture behind it.
For instance, as a student in high school and college, she traveled to France, Quebec, and several other francophonic countries and cities.
During her senior year of high school, she traveled to a small village over the summer In that tiny village, nobody spoke English. So Young was forced to speak French during her visit.
Young said she learned a lot during that summer. But Young said there’s always more to learn, especially given that you never finish learning a language.
“This language that I’ve been studying for four years really works,” she said. “Somewhere in the world…people walk down the street and the world, ‘Hello’ never enters their mind, but the word ‘Bonjour’ was there.”
Bhavana Ambil, a 16-year-old sophomore at Ardrey Kell, said she appreciates Young’s teaching style in the classroom.
“…She has so much experience and she is so well qualified,” said Ambil. “She makes me motivated to put effort into what I learn.”
Jocelyn Arbogast, a freshman at Ardrey Kell, agreed.
“Ms. Young is another foreign language teacher that enhanced my aspiration to become more involved with culture and languages,” said Arbogast. “She is able to come up with different methods in order to learn French, which is a good way for all the students to learn.”
Young’s advice for anyone who wants to learn a foreign language is to live with a family who speaks the language at some point. That’s the best way to learn, she said.
She also reminded potential language students that it’s not about tests. It’s about experiences.
This story was written as a part of the Charlotte Observer’s high school journalism Explorer Post.