Follow the lead – For the foreign teachers in Romain Rolland Foreign Language School

This article is being published in honor of the Day of Enlighteners. We consider our teachers of being enlighteners of our knowledge, our interests and our views.

The article is a part of a long-term and anticipated report by Maria Balcheva, of 12th “c” and Liyana Georgieva, of 12th “d”. After the reviews from Lyana’s interview with Frenchwoman Celine in 2014, we decided that the tradition should be prolonged. We meet the foreign teachers in our school, interview them and post our articles in the school’s e-newspaper.


It is 19th of June, the last day of Sarah Michel inBulgaria and inRomainRollandForeignLanguageSchool. After the end of the sixth period, while cheerful students are leaving the school willing to enjoy the warmth of the Sun, Sarah and I meet in the school library, where the noise and summer’s heat cannot reach us.

I start the interview with questions of personal matter, believing that will help me to introduce Sarah better to you. She is born in Michigan, USA, graduating university in 2011. She is an applicant in the Fulbright program and she wants to teach Bulgarian students. Sarah has visited Bulgaria before, taking part in another program with Ukrainian students. She shares with me she wanted to live in Eastern Europe and her participation in Fulbright has made her dream come true.

Her memories ofBulgariaare of the people’s hospitality and the teachers and students who have made her feel like a part of the community of RRFLS. Also, the traveling experiences, the food and the animals. Interesting tradition for Sarah is the fact that Bulgarian students are always sitting next to the same people in the classroom. She thinks this allows us to get acquainted with each other better than American students. Smiling, she tells me how she finds it strange that we have an “unwritten law” for friendship. Sarah explains it as: if you are friends with somebody in high school, you are friends forever. Until then I actually didn’t realize we had created such law. The very first memories of Sarah about our school are of its architecture and the freshly painted in orange pillars in the hallways. With her arrival in Bulgaria Sarah is overflowing with excitement for the school year and ending it with wonderful memories. She wishes students not to be afraid of work and getting their hands dirty because with hard work done side by side success can be easily reached.

I am meeting Molly O’Keefe who is the new American teacher in RRFLS. She is from Baltimore, Maryland. She has graduated theatre and religious studies two years ago. Molly shares with me how much she loves theatre and singing and how she worked as an actress for a little while. “I would love to go to the theatre. It is exciting that the opera house is so close to the school. I heard that there is also a puppet theatre in the city. I love puppets!”

In 2007 Molly took part in a high school program and visited Bulgaria. She says that is the reason why she is here now, because she loved it. Molly has always been interested in the Fulbright program, because it enables her to follow some of her passions, i.e. to teach and travel and to explore foreign cultures. Molly is very excited and she is looking forward to meeting all of the teachers and students she can possibly meet. She wishes to learn about what are the students of our high school interested in.

On 15th of September, when we meet, she is overjoyed because of the festive mood of the first day of school. Later she explains to me that her excitement is because the first day of school in theUSA includes only a brief gathering of the students and after that, normal classes.

When I’m asking what some of her impressions on Stara Zagora are, she tells me that it is a beautiful city and everyone she has met have been very enthusiastic. The teachers in RRFLS are also welcoming her. She shares that some who are teaching French have offered her to practice her French with them, because she says she speaks “a little French”.

I asked if she has some planned activities for the classes and Molly said that she prefers being more flexible. In the classroom she would like us to explore cultures trough music. Molly says she would love to continue working with the BEST team. She hopes that student who are going to apply in universities in theUS orEurope will reach her because she will be happy to help with documents or advice.

 The main point in studying foreign languages for Molly is to be able to                                                                                         communicate and to share rather that try to speak grammatically correct. She wishes for students to learn how to express themselves in English while being comfortable and to be even more open-minded.

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