What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that language learning, and learning of any kind, should be creative, joyful, and intentional. In my experience, students at all levels learn best by working with language in playful and inventive ways in order to create meaning and interact with other people and cultures. When we enjoy what we are doing and feel personally invested in the work, we are better able to retain information and remain engaged with the subject matter beyond the classroom walls. By choosing authentic cultural materials and activities with real-life relevance, I aim to move beyond an isolated study of grammar and vocabulary and show how language can be used as a living tool for intercultural communication.
What excites you about The Academy at Penguin Hall?
As a graduate of an all-girls high school myself, it has been a longstanding dream to work at a school like APH! What I found to be most remarkable about my own high school experience was how truly happy I felt to go to school each day and be accepted into a supportive, tight-knit community that empowered girls to be leaders. When I discovered APH and its “culture of kindness,” I knew right away that it would be a wonderful fit. I’m also looking forward to being part of an innovative team that is constantly developing the vision of the school and creating traditions for future students to enjoy.
Share something interesting about yourself.
I actually began learning French not in school, or abroad, but at summer camp! Many of my fondest memories come from my numerous summers spent on Canoe Island, a tiny private island in the Pacific Northwest: singing songs, playing games, and learning about Francophone cultures firsthand from native speaker counselors. My favorite thing about attending and working at summer camp was the atmosphere of constant support, discovery, and joy. Those summer experiences continue to serve as my inspiration as I strive to spark that same sense of wonder in the classroom.
Marisa Ikert received her BA in French with a minor in English from Whitman College. After a year in Bordeaux with the Teaching Assistantship Program in France, she went on to receive a Master of Arts in Teaching French from UMass Amherst.