Teacher’s travels impact classroom

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm

At an average high school, you may not expect to meet someone who’s traveled the world, but French teacher Tara Bailey takes her first-hand experiences from traveling and uses them to open her students’ eyes to the world.

Bailey has been teaching for 6 years, and incorporating those experiences into the classroom helps make the class real for students.

“You actually get to experience the different cultures that we talk so much about in class,” Bailey said. “It really opens your eyes to the world that’s out there. It brings the classroom to life.”

Having grown up in a host of different countries like Singapore, Australia, England, and France, Bailey has been strongly influenced by a variety of cultures. She has also visited countries such as Mexico, Italy, Germany, Bali, Japan, the Grand Caymans, and the Bahamas, fostering a love of travel and a value for being internationally minded. Bailey has always had a love of travel and sees the importance of it.

“Outside of school, I travel whenever I have the chance,” Bailey said. “You get to see that there really is life outside of Texas, and not everyone lives the same lifestyle as you.”

Bailey has been a part of several school-sponsored trips to Europe while teaching at Bryan High.

“The trips we take are such great learning experiences, especially for those who have never travelled before,” Bailey said. “Not only in students’ language class, but also in their history class.”

Bailey didn’t always know that she wanted to teach, but the idea was always present.

“It was always in the back of my mind growing up because I have many family members who are teachers,” Bailey said. “It just seemed like the natural thing to do.”

Bailey’s inspiration to become a teacher was shaped when she was a student herself.

“I took French in college because I loved it in high school,” Bailey said. “I thought I would major in International Business, but once I realized that involved less French, I switched my major. I always had amazing French teachers. I wanted to be like them and hopefully inspire others to have a passion for learning and for French.”

Colleague and department head, Jan Krammer regards Bailey as a great asset to the language program.

“She’s responsible, cheerful, and humorous, and she can motivate her students to want to know more,” Krammer said. “She contributes greatly in terms of creativity, intelligence, and cooperation with the teachers of different languages.”

Bailey’s love of French is only part of what makes her students and colleagues see her as an effective teacher, her interest in her students’ lives contributes as well.

“She loves her subject, and her students,” Krammer said. “She always has a way of making learning fun. She is kind and understanding, and her students know that she cares about them.”

As one of Bailey’s students, Sophomore Caitlin O’Dell appreciates these qualities in Bailey.

“She’s really understanding of the students, and you can tell that she puts all her effort into helping us learn French,” O’Dell said. “It’s always really fun. She brings up really interesting subjects to talk about.”

For Bailey, one of the most attractive aspects of teaching is the connection with students.

“Without awesome students, teaching would be boring,” Bailey said. “Sometimes when the job of teaching gets overwhelming, I think about my students and it makes it all worth it.”

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