Meet the Author

Catherine Baron
Mt Pleasant HS

Eastside san jose union high school district

Foreign Language
My Philosophy
I believe that any new life experiences translate into an opportunity for learning. I consider learning a lifelong process and this philosophy I try to impart on my students. I will frequently use myself as an example, telling them that I take night classes and like them, I must do homework and study, I also explain that I always enjoy learning new things. I want my students to realize that all subject matters are related and they must remain connected to the whole of learning. I give them examples of how you can learn a lot about history, geography, literature and their own native language while learning French. My French courses are not limited to teaching language skills; my classes are comprehensive studies of many different cultures in the French-speaking world. My goal is to give students exposure to different ways of thinking and living and to promote respect and appreciation for other cultures.

My Community
My motivation to pursue a career in education is best explained by giving you a brief history of my education and career background. I was born in France where I earned a Master’s degree in English at the University of Grenoble. My intent was to become an English teacher in the French public school system. I also wanted to experience teaching French abroad and earned a teaching assistant degree called “diplome d’assistante de francais a l’etranger”. I moved to California in 1979 and from 1979 to 1981 I taught French, Geography and History at a private school in Stockton, California, Jory Ingham School. I moved to San Francisco in 1981 and because of the lack of full time teaching jobs at the time I accepted a position to manage a travel agency, which I stayed with for twenty years. Even though I was not directly involved in academia, I continued teaching by giving private French lessons at home, working for Berlitz School of Languages, volunteering at Sherman elementary school in San Francisco and substitute teaching at the School of the Peninsula in Palo Alto. I moved to San Jose in May 2002 and enrolled in San Jose State University’s Teaching Credential Program, I am also teaching French at Almaden Country School in South San Jose. When I moved to San Francisco in 1981, I first lived in the Castro District and moved to the Mission District in 1999. I volunteered for P.A.W.S. helping people afflicted with the A.I.D.S. virus take care of their pets by delivering pet food and veterinary supplies. While in the Mission District my exposure to the Hispanic community revived my interest in this fascinating culture. I studied Spanish for ten years in France and decided to take Spanish conversation evening classes at San Francisco City College to achieve one of my goals of becoming fluent in Spanish to enjoy Latin-American Literature in its original form. I have studied other languages as well, including Italian, Arabic and German. My passion for travel has exposed me to many different cultures and enhanced my appreciation for varied cultures’ artistic accomplishments, history, gastronomy and most importantly their people.

My Roles and Responsibilities
Because I was born and raised in France, I have been in contact with many different European and North African cultures and this exposure prepared me for the diversity of the California classroom and it made me realize the importance of introducing multicultural concepts in the curriculum. However as an educator, my responsibility is to develop my students’ critical thinking skills rather than dictating a certain way of thinking in relation to socio cultural issues. I can facilitate and guide their progress towards becoming independent and responsible thinkers, which will enable them to be full participants in a socially just society. A well-rounded free public education available to all regardless of one’s socio-economic, ethnic background, gender, culture, race or immigration status is a basic and essential concept in a democratic society. My teaching philosophy is based on these democratic principles, I believe in social justice and I am happy to finally be given the opportunity to act upon my convictions.