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 2020 Workshop 9/14/20

First-time applicants must attend the Orientation session on 9/14/20 at 9am or 6pm EST. Please contact the Department Administrator sydney.k.lucia@dartmouth.edu to sign up. If you cannot make those times, please contact Sydney Lucia. 

Veteran AT Remarks

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