Teacher of the Week: Lillie Webb

lillie**Lillie Webb, Non-Native French Teacher in Boston **Fluent City purposely uses non-native French teachers for Level 1 and 2. Our goal is to find the best teachers possible, and we often find that someone who went through learning a language later in life is better able to explain how it works. Meet Teacher of the Week Lillie Webb.

How did you learn French?

I started taking French classes in 7th grade. I completely fell in love with French because it felt like being let in on a secret. It became the language I used to get an outside perspective on my own thoughts. In high school and college, I just kept taking classes. By my senior year, I had accidentally double-majored in French and Literature. Now I have a master’s degree and most of a Ph.D. in French language and literature. I can’t get enough!

How did you start using French outside the classroom?

Very early on, I would try to talk to my friends in French outside of class. But the real turning point came when I studied abroad in Paris. I was living with a host family and taking classes at Paris IV. By the time I came home, I was thinking in French as often as in English. Now, it’s the language I work in and share with the friends I’ve met abroad and in grad school. I feel more like myself in French.

What is your favorite thing about teaching at Fluent City?

I love getting to meet so many different kinds of people who are interested in learning French for so many different reasons. My favorite students are always the people who have a partner or a close relative who speaks French. In some small way, I feel like I’m helping them to build closer families.

What fun hobbies do you have outside of teaching at Fluent City?

My obsession with French is rivaled only by my addiction to baking. Whenever I have a chance, you’ll find me in the kitchen whipping up a vegetarian quiche for my husband or testing new recipes for my cooking classes. My latest class is on eclairs and madeleines. Besides baking, I also run the Boston Chocolate Club meetup group and play Dungeons and Dragons once a week.

Do you have a favorite app or tool you recommend to students to complement their studies?

Wordreference.com is the only online dictionary I ever use, and their app is just as good. The forums are an invaluable resource when you need to find exactly the right word or even just figure out the difference between synonyms. I also like Duolingo as a way to build vocabulary.

Where is your favorite place to find French food in Boston?

Sandrine’s Bistro in Harvard Square is incomparable, and surprisingly vegetarian-friendly. Their duck is wonderful! I’m also very fond of Le Petit Robert on Commonwealth Avenue. I dream of their escargot.

Can you recommend a French film?

Everyone should see the trilogy Bleu, Blanc, Rouge by Kieslowski. Bleu was the very first French film I ever watched, and its haunting presence in my mind is one of the reasons I had to learn French.

Finally, what is your favorite French word?

Se débrouiller – It means to untangle something or figure out a way to do something or solve a tricky problem. I love this verb because it is perfect for describing both what it’s like to learn a new language and to make your way through a new culture. We can all find our own solutions, no matter how knotty the problem.

Think you have what it takes to teach at Fluent City? Apply here to teach with us!