With a classical languages degree under his belt and a “knack for cultural exchange” that’s seen him through several lengthy stints abroad, it seems only fitting that Will Edwards ’18 would pursue a job beyond America’s borders. Currently enrolled in a teaching assistant program in Poitiers, France, Edwards, who lived there twice previously, is excited to polish his French language skills and prepare for the challenges of leading a classroom full of local middle-schoolers for the first time.
“First and foremost, I am hoping to see if I am really cut out for teaching, in general,” says Edwards, who also minored in philosophy. “There are a million invisible demands on teachers that even most students fail to ever recognize.”
It’s a claim that Edwards—who served as an English peer tutor and a philosophy teaching assistant over the course of his time at Haverford—can personally confirm. But he credits these past teaching experiences with setting him on his current path.
“It was my experience that the rewards of the field far outweighed the demands, which encouraged me to pursue a few fellowship opportunities to continue working on my pedagogical skills,” he says.
Those pedagogical skills found a sponsor in TAPIF, the Teaching Assistant Program in France. Run by the French Ministry of Education and the French embassy’s cultural services sector, it provides young American adults with health insurance, work visas, and monthly stipends worth 790 euros—as well as professional educational experience—in exchange for “establishing a native English speaker presence” in public schools.
For Edwards, who attended such schools during the years he spent in France as both a child and an adolescent, TAPIF was a perfect fit. And he fully intends to use his background experience with the country to his advantage in the classroom come this fall.
“I am hoping that my past experiences in France will help me to get to know the students, see where they are coming from, and clue me into how they can improve their English and have fun doing it,” he says.
“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series reporting on the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.
Photo: Will Edwards ’18, a member of the Haverford men’s varsity soccer team, will be teaching in Poitiers, France, for the next eight months.