In Kathe Blydenburgh’s French classroom, each lesson centers on joy – the joy of learning a new language, discovering a new culture, and gaining a new perspective on the world.
Blydenburgh joined Trinity-Pawling’s Modern Languages Department as a French teacher in 2018. She arrived on campus after graduating from Hamilton College, where she studied political science, international relations, and French. However, it was the year that she studied abroad in Paris that truly solidified her love for the French language. “I had the incredible chance to live in the language! I think it’s an experience that everyone should have. I was totally immersed and it taught me so much about the art of communication.”
Blydenburgh’s experiences in France also helped to shape her teaching style and day-to-day classroom activities. In all of her French classes (which range from beginner to advanced), she says joy is essential. “The art of enjoying life is an important part of French culture,” she explained. “I try to emulate that in my classroom. I want to make sure my students are enjoying the language and feel at ease while learning. We celebrate mistakes and successes – because when learning a language, both are equally important.”
In addition to teaching six different French classes, Blydenburgh also serves as a dorm parent and student advisor. As a skilled yoga instructor, she also leads occasional yoga sessions for different athletic teams each season. Now in her second year at Trinity-Pawling, Blydenburgh continues to appreciate the genuine sense of community on campus. “It feels like a big family,” she concluded. “The support and mentorship amongst the faculty is amazing, and I continue to be impressed every day by the character of my students. Living and working here is truly a joy.”
by Emma Christiantelli