Bonjour, je me présente!
I am Monsieur Trocha, French teacher at Palmer High School.
I am a native French speaker, born in France in a pretty big city located in the center of France, Clermont-Ferrand.
Clermont-Ferrand is in a beautiful region called the Auvergne, where you find several volcanic chains and lots of forests. I grew up in a small village outside of Clermont-Ferrand called Beaumont. My father was a teacher there, which means that we lived in the school apartments for teachers! Yes, in France, some teachers actually do live at school! I started working with kids doing after-school tutoring at age 16; I think I knew then that this would be my career. Also, I was lucky as well to learn to speak several languages when I was young: outside of my native French, I also speak English, German, and some Polish.
After I completed my baccalaureat exams (I did a special Math baccalaureat), I moved to Bourges, a picturesque medieval city in central France. There are many, many half-timbered houses and old paved streets in Bourges. There, I studied theater and dramatic arts. During this time, I travelled back and forth between New York and Paris for several years, working and studying. I also got to do some interesting things, like learning to work with severely handicapped adults and help them learn to fit into mainstream society. At the time, handicapped people in France (and Europe in general) didn't get out much; this was a major step for many of them, to be in a setting with non-handicapped people who wished to interact with them. It was a great experience.
In 1991, I represented France and the European Union for a Fulbright Scholarship for studies in New York! It was a terrific year. I pursued my studies and, thanks to the Fulbright Foundation, attended lots of classical concerts and dance and theater performances. It was then, in fact, when I met my wife, Andrea. She needed a French tutor! After dating for a year, we married, moved to Paris from New York, and I continued my studies in French theater at the Sorbonne-Nouvelle. The next year, I completed my master's in the same subject in Clermont-Ferrand, and I sat for the competitive examinations to become a teacher in the Academy of Versailles. Before we had children, we lived in a lovely town outside of Paris, Saint-Germain-en-Laye (near Versailles), where Louis XIV was born. I worked in nearby towns teaching in elementary schools, and sometimes I took part in specialized education for students in academic straits or with learning problems, helping them learn and integrate.
In 1998, we bought some land and I build my "farm house" in a quiet village just west of Paris; the town is called Médan, and that is where we began raising our children. They went to school there from age 3 on; the French start school very early! My wife was working in French universities and at the American University of Paris as a professor of English, and between teaching and raising our children, I managed to convert the smallish house we had purchased into a much larger home (we more than doubled the surface space). I did everything: digging the foundations, setting up the plumbing, cementing the cinder blocks, constructing the roof, running all electrical wires, putting in the heated flooring, tiling, kitchen cabinets, showers, everything! It was a great experience, and the sale of the house allowed us to make the move back to the U.S. when my wife was offered a job at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where she is now a full professor.
We've been married for over 25 years and have three children: James-François, Julien, and Juliette. We also have a rescue dog! We all speak French at home. We like to cook special French recipes, and we watch all of our movies in French. We celebrate French traditions like the galette des rois (three kings' cake) at Epiphany and crêpes for the Chandeleur (Candlemas Day). Every once in a while, we all get hungry for French cheese, so we buy some from igourmet and have a fun evening!
I enjoy staging performances with students and with my children, making films, singing Sinatra-style crooner tunes, and long-distance running. I used to do a lot of the latter: I've run ten different 100-mile races over the last eight years! I also volunteer when I can at the National Mill Dog Rescue in Peyton. Often they have over 100 dogs to take care of, so they need as many hands as possible.
So how do I fit into your world? I love my country and its culture so much: I'm really looking forward to sharing that passion with you, my French students!
I will prove to you that learning a language is really a gift you make to yourself, one that will expand your horizons on our growing and constantly-changing world.
I'm sure that after sharing all my love for my country with you, you will find yourself wanting to discover more on your own. My guidance will be over, and your own journey will begin!
Et Voilà ! I am looking forward to all the exciting things we will accomplish in our French class this year!
Et maintenant, parlons français !