New French Teacher Isabelle Desbiens Arrives at MHS

Isabelle Desbiens joined Malden High School earlier this year as a new French teacher. Desbiens works alongside Molly Crellin and Paul Degenkolb, teaching French I and French II.

Desbiens was born in Quebec, where she lived for a large portion of her life. She spoke French predominantly at home, which is where she gained her extensive knowledge of the language. She later attended Université Laval in Quebec City and gained a bachelor’s degree in Music, Computer Science and Archival Administration.

After university, she pursued a career as an archivist for quite some time, most of the time living in France. Desbiens commented, “it was really interesting, I got to work with firefighters in the city, so it was really cool.” After moving to the USA, she stumbled upon a job opening at MHS.

Being a French teacher was not Desbiens’ original plan when she attended university, however, the position seemed to be a good fit for her. “It was something I had wanted to do for a while [and] I am happy to do it now,” she mentioned. 

New French teacher Isabella Desbiens. Photo by Kaoutar Wakaf.

The head of the World Languages department and Spanish teacher, Sharon Kalagher, agreed that Desbiens is a good fit for the job. “She is excited to be here and she is really interested in planning fun things for kids to do. There’s a lot of enthusiasm in her work,” explained Kalagher.

Desbiens noted that the most rewarding part of being a French teacher is “students asking questions about the language.” She later remarked that “sometimes students ask things I’ve never thought about.” She went on to explain how she is learning new things about the French language every day.

Although being a teacher is rewarding, there are struggles that come with every job. She mentioned that one of the biggest daily challenges she faces is “trying to entertain students” and making sure they stay engaged. 

A hobby that some students might not know Desbiens enjoys is playing music. She has a bachelor’s degree in music and originally wanted to be a music teacher. Even if that is not the career she pursued, she still finds ways to incorporate music into her everyday life. “I play the violin and fiddle, and sometimes I’ll perform at little cafes; it’s really fun,” she highlighted.

In the future, Desbiens is looking forward to spending time with students and being the best educator she can possibly be.

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