How I Successfully Learned French with Ms. Lidgard


Siena Wyatt Draher, Writer

Learning a second language is no easy feat. It takes dedication, patience, and years of practice and exposure. Attempting to learn in school makes the challenge almost impossible when you factor work from other classes, overlapping deadlines and general outside stress. Not much could abate these difficulties, but thankfully, a ray of hope and sunshine hath emerged, parting the waves of darkness that have been drowning droves of silently suffering students.

Bethany Lidgard is a French language teacher at West Seattle High School. She became fluent with the help of French classes in high school and college, and study abroad opportunities. Instead of hoarding her knowledge to herself she decided to become a teacher and morph generations of wanna-be francophones. Ms. Lidgard previously taught at Garfield High School, where I attended 9th and 10th grade. Luckily for you all, we both made the transition to the West Seattle pastures and have been putting this school on the map ever since. Miss Lidgard teaches both advanced and beginner French classes. With her worldly wisdom, she’s a virtual Gandalf, guiding students through their French-learning journey from beginning to end. I’ve been lucky enough to have her as my French 3 teacher this past year, and it has without a doubt been the greatest language-learning experience I’ve ever had.

Miss Lidgard’s warmth and positivity is as contagious as her passion for the French language. Her teaching style is laid-back, lacking the intensity and pressure found in many-language learning classes that makes students too scared to speak. Instead her classroom is supportive and inviting, encouraging students to accept mistakes as a normal part of the learning process. The result is a bright, engaged classroom with students as invested in their own French education as they are in that of their peers. It’s an oasis from the highs and lows of high school, it’s learning at its best. We engage with French culture in many diverse ways, on any given day we could be analyzing French lyrics, reading informative French articles, or cooking French cuisine. Not only does this build a vast vocabulary, it makes every day new and exciting. In her classroom of curiosity and discovery Miss Lidgard makes learning a language feel like more than a possibility. Engage fully, embrace the process, and learning French becomes a guarantee.