Saying Bienvenidos and Bienvenue to new language teachers at DVHS

Teachers Señora Christina Burnside and Madame Allison Foster are DV’s newest staff members in the language department for the 2016-17 school year.

Señora Burnside, a new Spanish III and IV teacher, has nine years of teaching experience. Her first four years of teaching were spent at the Immaculate Conception Academy and an additional five years at Notre Dame High school. She studied at Chapman University and Spain and received her credentials in San Francisco.

Madame Foster is the new French I and III teacher at DVHS. She previously taught at Mt. Diablo High School. Foster majored in French and studied abroad in France. She has also worked at the French Consulate and in France for a few years.

When asked why she chose to work at DV, Foster revealed, “[Counselor] Meagan Sellers  asked me to come in for a month … and I fell in love with the school. My mom [English teacher Jill Wharton] actually teaches English here, so that’s pretty fun that we get to work together.”

Working at a new school, however, meant change for both teachers.

“Something that’s really been nice being at Dougherty is that the kids are really excited about French … I think that’s really awesome, and I really didn’t see that at my last school,” said Foster.

Burnside noted that all the schools she taught in previously were private, girls-only Catholic schools. Though the transition was jarring, it hasn’t dampened Burnside’s enthusiasm for her new school.

“You’re driven and caring and you can tell people embrace each other’s similarities and differences,” Burnside said.

Foster did express some sadness about the move, stating, “I really miss a lot of the students at my old school … you build relationships with students … I definitely miss my students.”

Despite this, Foster said she loves DV’s atmosphere.

“I feel like it’s a supportive school environment and a spirited school environment,” she said.

A new school also meant that the language teachers would try out new teaching styles.

“Research says the best way to teach a language is to do it as much as possible in the target language … here it’s way easier to do that and I’m able to conduct my class all in French,” said Foster.

“Her activities allow us to apply our knowledge and be active in the classroom,” Junior Suvarcha Laxminarayan added. “She makes learning French quite fun.”

Burnside stated that she wanted to be more flexible this year and make her class more interactive.

“[Señora Burnside] is very enthusiastic and makes everyone else perk up,” Sophomore Kuhu Sharma stated. “She doesn’t expect you to have an insane amount of ability, but she expects you to try.”

The teachers are committed to making students feel comfortable interacting with them in their classes.

“I am approachable and I’m very passionate about what I do and I want to create a safe environment,” Burnside said.

Foster stated that she wants her students to be excited and the experience of learning French to be more than just checking off a box for college.

“She creates a safe learning environment,” Laxminarayan said. “She’s pretty chill.”

With a solid backgrounds in their languages and immense enthusiasm, Madame Foster and Señora Burnside are wonderful additions to the DV staff.