Growing up, Instructor Charlene Potter, who teaches ESL, Linguistics and French, never thought that she would end up being a teacher but found her passion for it while working part-time in a government sponsored program called the Monitor program in western Canada.
There she taught for four years as an undergraduate. The first two years she worked in a French elementary school. The last two years she worked in a French high school. â€œI never considered myself a teacher but the program was awesome,â€ said Potter.
President of the French club Carlos Herrera, music, says that Potter is an exceptional teacher. â€œShe always [came] to class very [enthusiastic], ready to teach, and passionate about what she taught,â€ said Herrera in an email.
Potter grew up in a small town outside Calgary. Unlike in the United States, community colleges donâ€™t exist in Canada. â€œIf you go to a collegeâ€¦you donâ€™t transfer to a university. Thatâ€™s unheard of,â€ said Potter.
Potter chose to study linguistics at Ottawa University, a bilingual university where students can take classes in either English or French. There she received her bachelorâ€™s and masterâ€™s degrees in linguistics.
Reflecting on her years in college Potter said, â€œOne of the important things [about] the University of Ottawa is thatâ€¦before you get a degree [there] you have to be fluent in both languages.â€
She said that the best thing about her experience was the two jobs she held. Â Besides the teaching, Potter had a job working as a clerk at Parliament Hill, which is the equivalent of working at Capitol Hill.
One of Potterâ€™s job duties was accepting top-secret documents from the Prime Minister for the Minister of National Defense. â€œIt was kind of a prestigious job for a student,â€ said Potter. â€œPart of my job was to sign for those documentsâ€¦ The delivery guy would come and the documents would be hand-cuffed to his handâ€¦So I had a top-secret government clearance which was pretty cool for a student.â€
Potter said the worst thing about college was that she had no idea that dropping classes was an option.
While Potter has no regrets, if she could go back and change one thing about herself she would have found more information on the universityâ€™s policies.
The most interesting thing about college for Potter was her transportation from her job at Parliament Hill to the Carleton University where she was doing her graduate work.
In the winter she would skate on the Rideau Canal, which is four or five miles long. â€œItâ€™s the longest skating rink in the world,â€ said Potter. â€œI used to skate toâ€¦ schoolâ€¦It[was] awesomeâ€¦having my job at one end and my school at the other end.â€
Potter inspired Herrera to the extent that he started theFrench club.
â€œPotter is one of our faculty advisers because I felt that she would be able to offer students a different perspective of the French language. Not just [from the point of] a different dialect but a linguistic approach as well,â€ said Herrera.
â€œHer versatility makes her a very valuable assetâ€¦We are very glad that she has invested some of her time to help us carry out our activities and to help us improve our French communication skills.â€