April 20, 2021 at 4:36 pm

Class of 2021 | Luke Phelps Still Plans to Get to France

Luke Phelps, portrait

Luke Phelps

Two things didn’t go quite the way Luke Phelps expected.

First, he found himself using Zoom for his student-teaching.

Second, he didn’t find himself in France last summer.

But he’s graduating this spring from Ohio University, and he’ll soon get his chance to teach French in a live classroom. And he’s still planning on getting to France.

At OHIO, Phelps is earning a B.A. in French from the College of Arts & Sciences, a BSEd in French from the Patton College of Education, and a Diversity Studies Certificate.

Q: What stands out in your mind as you think about graduating despite COVID?

A. I am glad that I will be graduating in person. I have missed a lot about OHIO, like my friends, my professors, and even my job. The last time I was really in Athens was basically just before spring break my junior year. Now it’s a year later and I’ll be graduating.

Q:  What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

A. The hardest hill I had to climb would be my teaching internship. I was lucky enough to be placed at Athens High School, which has a great World Language Department, and I had a wonderful mentor teacher. However, the pandemic began just as I was wrapping up my part-time internship and transitioning into student teaching full-time. Over the summer, I had to learn how to adapt to a completely new teaching style, completely on Zoom.

Teaching five days a week for the first time is challenging enough, let alone completely online. Despite the new teaching format, this was a very valuable experience that I could not have done without the help of my mentor teacher or my students. I made many memories during my time at AHS, and I am grateful for the experience.

Q: What are your next steps/future plans?

A. I am planning on going to France in 2022. I was originally planning on studying abroad the summer after my junior year. However, due to COVID, the trip was canceled, and I was not able to experience living abroad. My hope is to participate in the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) so I can spend some time immersed in French culture and language.

Q: Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?

A. I have loved all of my French professors. The French program at OHIO is filled with professors who are very passionate about what they teach and want to help their students grow. I have learned so much from professors like Dr. Chris Coski and Dr. Dominique Duvert, and I am very thankful for all of their help.

As for the education side of things, my favorite professor would be, hands down, Dr. Anne Scott. She has been my academic adviser since the end of my freshman year, as well as my professor and university clinical educator. She is so dedicated to the World Language Education Program at Ohio University. She has helped me countless times to make me become a better student and a better teacher. I don’t think I would have finished my education degree without her.

Q: What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

A. As a French Education student, there are three tests that I had to take in order to graduate: edTPA, OPI and WPT. The edTPA is a huge performance assessment that assesses my ability to teach, and the other two are assessments on how well I speak/write in French. My ah-ha moment would be when I finally finished all of those.

I was told  about these assessments freshman year, so they were something I have been thinking about and working toward since then. To finally have finished and passed them felt like an achievement.

Q: What are your favorite OHIO memories?

A. My favorite OHIO memory was meeting my best friend Robin Kohut. We happened to be in the same learning community together freshman year, so we were able to see each other every day and become fast friends. I’ll miss being able to play board games at Donkey rather than doing homework that we should have definitely done.

Q: What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

A. Take Gen Ed courses that interest you. Don’t think of them as just fulfilling a requirement. There are so many courses to choose from at OHIO, so why not take something you are interested in? I ended up taking so many WGSS courses that I was able to get a Diversity Studies Certificate!

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