Teacher Spotlight: Madame Bishop


Tre Briscoe

The French teacher, Madame Bishop (formally referred to as Madame Coe), has been teaching here for more than 18 years, touching many hearts and building many strong bonds throughout the years. Today, I sat down with her and asked her a few questions about her time here, and some of her favorite parts of being a teacher at West Bloomfield High School. She has become a trusted adult to many ,including myself, and with her gentle yet firm teaching style, she has become amongst the most coveted of teachers. Without further ado, my interview with Madame.

Why should I take French?
“Well why do you take French? *laugh*. For starters, French is the most spoken language in the world next to English, and we don’t really see that reflected in the United States. For anyone who plans on traveling abroad, it’s a really good language to know. When I was in the Middle East, I didn’t know how to speak any Middle Eastern languages but I did know how to speak French, and all the Middle Easterners knew how to speak french too. If you go to Western Europe, people learn French at a young age. It’s a very widespread and international language with a lot of influence around us, There were French settlers here in Michigan, but also a lot of different communities and schools around the area have French speaking people. Overall, it’s a wonderful learning experience.”

You’ve been here at the school for a very long time, what would you say is one of the most enjoyable parts of being part of the staff here at West Bloomfield?

“I love it when teachers unexpectedly participate with kids such as pep assemblies, playing sports with them, dressing up in weird costumes, and when they put themselves out there for the students”

What’s the relationship like between the language teachers? Is there a sense of rivalry or camaraderie?
“Camaraderie for sure. We all get together (sometimes even outside of school). We bounce ideas off of each other, if one thing works for one teacher we like to share it with each other. The nice thing is that even though there aren’t many French teachers, most of the activities work with all the languages. The other teachers provide a great support system”

Why do you think it’s so easy for kids to connect with you and build these strong bonds with you?

“I’m young at heart, even though I may not look it. I do love connecting with the kids. I love being in their shoes and understanding what they’re going through, whether its stress with life or stress with school. I think having connections with the students is important, and knowing who they are outside of the classroom is important, and just having fun. If you have fun then you’re more motivated to learn, if I’m more motivated, I’m excited to teach”

Do you find reaching out to kids easier than some of your jobs as a teacher?

“I think so. Sometimes I do get sad or worried if I miss reaching out to kids if they need me. I think sometimes I put too much responsibility on the kids and I assume they’ll reach out to me if they need me, but that’s not always the case. Kids and teachers all need a support system, so I do like kids to know that I’m there for them ,it worries me if I ever miss somebody, I really try to stay engaged with how they’re feeling or what they’re doing, and try to decipher if its just a bad day or if something is going wrong. It can sometimes be hard to do, are they just quiet or is something wrong? I do try to see those red flags and reach out to kids as well. We’re not just teaching our content. We’re not just teaching math or French or English, we’re teaching life skills too. We teach them how to be productive young adults in this huge community that we call school.”

How do you feel about the changes to the school? Do you miss your old room? 

“Yes, I do miss that room but I think that this is a fresh slate for everybody. We’ll build new memories together. We’ll have new experiences in here and we’ll make it our own. We’re more together and collaborating more. Kids are talking to each other more instead of being glued to their phones. I was hesitant at first but I think so far so good. I think it’s baby steps”