A deep dive into a French teacher’s career: Madame Niemann and her journey

A deep dive into a French teacher’s career: Madame Niemann and her journey

When Anja Niemann stepped in the French classroom to be a long-term sub, she had no idea what was going to happen. Now, fourteen years later, Niemann is proud to be a French teacher at Briar Woods High School.

“After I taught as a long-term sub, I really liked teaching, so I switched careers,” said Niemann.

After leaving her old job, Madame Niemann started teaching a language that many students consider difficult to learn. However, Niemann seems to have a different view on whether or not French is harder than other languages. 

“Every language has its unique challenges, so it’s difficult to say which language is harder than the other,” said Niemann.

But teaching French does not come without its hardships. As is with any language, there are going to be parts where it’s hard to get through to the students, and a part of that is the strict curriculum that language teachers have to follow.

“I wish I had more leniency in how I taught French within the curriculum, because I have to get through some things that sometimes I don’t necessarily think are the best ones,” said Niemann.

However, these struggles are all part of the job, and the teacher must be able to explain the curriculum in a way that allows the students to comprehend the skills that they must get in order to speak French fluently.

“The ideal French teacher is someone who can manage the class and make sure that the students can thoroughly understand the material,” explained Sravya Aluri, an 8th grader at Eagle Ridge Middle School, and an upcoming 9th grader at Briar Woods.

Does Madame Niemann fulfill this criteria? According to her students, she does. Her classroom is an environment in which students enjoy learning French, while motivating students to unlock their full potential.

“Madame Niemann is gentle with her teaching, encouraging us towards the correct answer, and explaining the different concepts in French that could make it hard with another teacher,” said Valerie Vo, a freshman at Briar Woods, and a student of Madame Niemann’s.

Madame Niemann also encourages the students to help each other, with lots of fun group projects that allow students to work on their speaking and grammar skills in an enjoyable way.

“She lets us do a lot of group activities, which helps me learn how to say things on the fly. It helps me get a deeper understanding of how to speak in French with a variety of people,” said Lily Torrijos, another one of Madame Niemann’s freshman students.

Through career changes and generation changes, from less technology to more technology to years plagued by Covid-19. Madame Niemann has kept teaching high school French since she taught the language for the first time 14 years ago, and it doesn’t look like she is giving up any time soon.