Passion for French began in Switzerland

Cynthia Pretorius is looking forward to sharing her enthusiasm for languages with her students at École Mother Teresa Catholic School.

Cynthia Pretorius

Cynthia Pretorius

Cynthia Pretorius is looking forward to sharing her enthusiasm for languages with her students at École Mother Teresa Catholic School.

“I’m excited to be in an immersion environment,” said Pretorius. “I’m so passionate about teaching French.”

That passion began in Switzerland, where Pretorius lived for a year and had a complete immersion into the country’s culture and language.

“I specifically decided to go into speaking French because I think it’s so valuable to have a second language,” said Pretorius. “It’s challenging but I like it.”

Originally from Ontario, Pretorius attended Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo for her undergraduate degree, and the University of Ottawa for her bachelor of education.

She taught at a private all-girls school in Oakville, Ontario before she and her husband moved to Red Deer with their purchase of the city’s Swiss Chalet restaurant. She worked as a substitute teacher at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School last year.

This year, Pretorius will be teaching grade three French immersion, in addition to French classes for English students in grades four and five.

She has a strict no-English rule in the classroom, even for her English students. A variety of incentives, chosen by her students, are offered as rewards for speaking French.

“I want them to feel comfortable just speaking French,” said Pretorius. “I’m really looking forward to working with these kids, and just having them feel that they’re in a loving, safe place.”

Pretorius is working on a French play presentation with her students, who will memorize their lines. She will also help organize the school’s Terry Fox Run.