- What do our ATs have to say about their experience?
- What do they write about their experience?
Freshman year, I auditioned to become an AT with the goal of improving my French. It undoubtedly helped my grammar and speaking abilities, but I stuck with the job through senior year because of the countless other ways it was enhancing my Dartmouth experience. Working closely with French professors to lead drill sessions built my confidence in public speaking, cultivated a love for teaching, and gave me the opportunity to learn from brilliant Dartmouth community members, both professors and students, whom I would not have met otherwise. It opened the door for an off-term spent working in Senegal, and developed skills I will absolutely use in my job next year as a consultant. I could not recommend the AT experience enough. In my biased opinion it's the best job on campus (and so much fun!!). Mary-Kate Milway '20
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
Working as an AT with the French Department has been truly rewarding. It has taught me how to be dynamic, how to communicate foreign concepts effectively, and the importance of body language in interpersonal engagement, all of which have proven helpful both inside and beyond the classroom. Drill instructing has also helped me discover a passion for teaching. There is little more gratifying than my students' excitement when they finally grasp a new grammatical concept or master a challenging pronunciation; their triumphs are also mine. Finally, my work as an AT has helped me form meaningful personal relationships with other students through our mutual love for French language and culture, as well as close professional relationships with passionate faculty members and other similarly motivated ATs. Adam Vandenbussche '22
Becoming an AT has been an extremely meaningful experience for me. This position has allowed me to form a stronger relationship with different professors and members of the Italian department, fortify my own language and grammar skills, and learn important skills in leadership and teaching that I otherwise would not have gained. An added bonus has been becoming good friends with the students I meet with four times a week and seeing more familiar faces around campus. Yasmeen Reza '20
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
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
Being an AT for the French department has been one of my favorite experiences while at Dartmouth. While the opportunity to maintain my own fluency is definitely a plus, the most rewarding part of the job is getting to meet and become friends with my drillees each term. I think that drill seems very intimidating at first – both for the students, who are put on the spot to speak a language they've only spent weeks or months learning, and for the ATs, who need to be engaging, confident, and fun for fifty minutes straight, three times a week. However, I've found that every term, thanks to everyone's engagement and efforts, my drillees and I end feeling so much more comfortable, both around the language and each other. It's really a special experience to be able to create an environment where students aren't afraid to make mistakes in order to grow! Heavenly Zheng'21
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. 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
My experience serving as an AT with the French Department has been nothing but incredibly positive. Having been a student of multiple foreign languages both before and during my time at Dartmouth, I am well aware of the human-to-human interaction that really helps bring "alive" the learning of a new language. In my opinion, participating in drill at the College is an incredibly important part of this process. Through interacting with a variety of students from a variety of backgrounds throughout my time as an Apprentice Teacher, I have not only had the opportunity to strengthen and practice my own language skills, but have also had the chance to help share my passion and love for language with others. I've met people through drill that have become some of my closest friends and have overall had an exceptionally great and rewarding time working in the position. Ian Reinke '22
Coming to Dartmouth, I never thought I would be involved in teaching other students. But after experiencing drill myself and becoming close to both of my former ATs, I knew I had to try teaching Italian myself. Even though I won't go into education after college, being an AT allowed me to become close with members of the Dartmouth community who I wouldn't have known or talked to otherwise. No other activity or club has allowed me to branch out and discover Dartmouth like drill. Mason Strazzella '21