Apprentice Teacher Info

The French and Italian Department encourages students to participate in the Apprentice Teacher (AT) Workshop in order to learn the Drill Method and try out for an AT position in French or Italian. The participation of veteran ATs contributes significantly to the training of new candidates. Participation in the full workshop is required to audition for a position as an AT.

What is an Apprentice Teacher?

Introduced in 1967, the Apprentice Teacher Program has become an important part of foreign language instruction at Dartmouth. Beginning language courses consist of master classes and drill sessions. The Apprentice Teacher (AT or Drill Instructor) “drills” students on the points they have learned in their master classes. The AT works closely throughout the term with the faculty member who teaches the master class. They are responsible for leading students in pattern drills and exercises, to practice and reinforce the grammatical points that have been taught in the master class.

Who can be an AT?

ATs in the Department of French and Italian are Dartmouth undergraduates, but they are not necessarily language majors. They are students with established linguistic skills who apply for the program, participate in the Apprentice Teacher Workshop and are selected by a faculty jury.

How do you become an AT?

Applicants for an AT position are not expected to be fluent in French or Italian, but must have completed the minimum requirement of French or Italian 3, and must have good linguistic competence and good accent.  Enthusiasm, commitment and interest in language are important requirements.  Applications will be available at the AT workshops.

Each term the number of ATs selected varies according to enrollment figures and the number of French and Italian language sections offered by the department. 

What are the job expectations?

  • ATs are responsible for conducting drills (either 7:45am or 5:20pm).
  • Once each week ATs meet with their master teacher, an integral part of the job.
  • ATs attend required meetings or training sessions during the term.
  • AT performance is evaluated several times a term by faculty members who visit drills as well as a written evaluation at the end of the term by the master teacher.
  • ATs do not provide grammar explanations.

What are the benefits of being an AT?

  • The AT position is a paid job.    
  • ATs increase their linguistic competence (pronunciation and grammar).
  • An AT develops useful teaching and interpersonal skills.
  • An AT works closely with a Dartmouth Professor, with a group of language students, and with other ATs.
  • On-Campus ATs may apply for an AT position on a Dartmouth LSA program. There are several openings each year.
  • ATs can benefit from the French and Italian AT Digital Badges Program. Upon successful performance they can receive a digital badge to display on their LinkedIn account

When are the Apprentice Teacher Workshops?

Workshops take place at the beginning of the Fall, Winter and Spring terms. 

The Fall 2017 Workshop

  • All workshops take place in Dartmouth Hall 108. Applicants must attend ALL of the following sessions:
  • Tuesday, September 12 - 6:00-8:00 pm 6:00-8:30 pm Orientation and Introduction to AT Workshop, Training
  • Wednesday, September 13  - 6:00-8:30 pm - Workshop
  • Thursday, September 14 - 6:00-8:30 pm - Workshop
  • Friday, September 15 - 4:00 pm Jury

Veteran AT Remarks

This past term, I absolutely loved being an AT. It is so rewarding to see the students improve their language skills throughout the term. You become friends with your drill-ees and I truly enjoy being able to help them as they grow and learn. The best part about being a drill instructor is the relationships you form. Zonia Moore'16

I really liked being an AT because I felt I was really helping to teach something to my peers. I liked being in a more relaxed, but still effective teaching environment and making connections with my small group of students. I learned a lot about what it means to teach and how to interact with your peers from a teaching perspective. I can't wait to continue drilling while at Dartmouth. Maggie Baird'18

"I am a senior French major and AT. I plan to be a high school French teacher after graduation, so this job is great for me because I get to practice skills like lesson planning, lesson delivery and classroom management, with the assistance of an experienced professor. I like having the mentorship of the older teacher, because I can ask questions and get feedback about my teaching style and how I can improve. It's fun to develop a rapport with a small group of students (usually freshmen and sophomores) who are learning a language I love so much. It's really fun to get them excited about French too. The AT becomes the face of the language, in a way, because you speak to the students in the target language four days a week. I love this job because I love teaching French!" Annabelle Ferguson'15

My experience being an AT with the French and Italian Department was nothing but positive. The most rewarding part of my job was serving as a peer mentor to students interested in the Italian Language, as well as inspiring students to challenge themselves to improve their fluency. I also appreciated that more than one student lauded me for getting them out of bed for 7:45 drill with my energy and enthusiasm. Serving as an AT was also a wonderful way for me to practice my Italian speaking, grammar and vocabulary. Regarding my experience with the department, being an AT partly inspired me to be an Italian major, as it allowed me to foster meaningful relationships with students and professors in the department. Lucas Katler'15

I found that being an AT for both Italian and French allowed me to further my passion and knowledge of these two languages and cultures by instilling in others a newfound appreciation for both French and Italian. As a TA, I had the ability to further excite my students about the subject matter and increase awareness of the importance of learning a second language in a world that is becoming increasingly more interconnected. Marisa Werner'16

In French, the verb apprendre means to learn but also to teach. This beautiful linguistic particularity captures the essence of being an AT. While I am teaching by helping the students consolidate what they have learned in class, I too am learning. Not only am I improving upon my French, but I am learning about teaching itself, the students, and how to face challenges. The most rewarding part of the job is watching the metamorphosis from the beginning, when the students are just trying to find their bearings, to when they emerge from the chrysalis of structure and begin to soar in the language. To know that I am a part of this process is humbling, and I plan to continue teaching, learning, and enabling butterflies to fly. John Damianos'16

I've been a drill instructor for all three levels of French, and I've considered it to be one of the most enjoyable activities I've done on campus. I loved the opportunity to help other students in the learning process outside of a strict classroom setting. Drill sessions outside over the summer, as well as a memorable drill breakfast in Lou's, made classes less stressful and more rewarding for myself and those I taught. Nate Grice'16

I have absolutely loved my experience being an AT in the Italian department. I initially decided to take on the job because I wanted to maintain my Italian skills before studying abroad in Rome next term. Not only did I maintain my Italian language skills, I also improved my leadership and teaching skills and met people whom I will be friends with for the rest of my time at Dartmouth. One particular highlight stands out to me. After the last day of drill, the day before the Italian 1 students' final exam, I emailed my drill students to let them know that I would hold an Italian practice/drill session in order to help the students prepare for their exam. Of course this was completely optional, but 7 of my 9 drill students attended. This shows me that the students showed up to drill because they genuinely care, want to learn Italian and enjoy the drill session--not because drill is  a requirement. Overall I have learned so much about myself and Italian by being an AT. I would recommend it to any advanced language student. Madellena Thornton '17