This article is one of a series of posts dedicated to our latest project, Humans of La Tour. Inspired by the successful Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton, Humans of La Tour is comprised of a series of journalistic portraits created by the Journalism students at La Tour. They seek to highlight a few of the many people who make up the La Tour community: those we see every day as our professors and classmates, as well as those whose hard work and dedication keep the school running smoothly on a daily basis.
Each portrait was created by an Anglophone Section student in Ms. Temple’s Journalism Elective as part of their final project for the Spring Semester 2021.
By Valentine Gueny (2EA)
Reading. For many people, it is a way to learn. For some others, it is a way to escape their lives and live someone else’s, to experience and visit the world. This is how Ms. Bergeron, a new Anglophone Section teacher, felt about books. She was raised in the tribe of Lumbee, which is a state-recognized tribe in of Native Americans since 1885 in North Carolina. It is the largest tribe of this state, numbering approximately 55,000 enrolled members and behind the closed walls of this Christian society, it was always hard for her to picture a world outside of this bubble. But the stories about foreign countries and magical schools always helped her and fed her desire to experience and travel the world.
Ms. Bergeron grew up quite poor in a trailer park in North Carolina. Her parents had her when they were very young and separated after her little brother was born, when she was 3 or 4 years old. Growing up in the 90s meant growing up in a society with an extreme form of Protestantism dominating everything. It was always taken for granted that she would marry when she was 20, have children and never have a career of her own. But she wanted a life for herself, and most of all, she wanted to be respected as a woman with rights.
Considering her background, Ms. Bergeron always knew that the only way for her to escape and travel was to take school very seriously. She qualifies her young self as “quite nerdy”, and told me that she loved early colonial history and studied very hard to be able to get scholarships and make her own way and books were that glimmer of hope that if she worked hard enough, it would work out.
For some people, teaching comes naturally. Ms. Bergeron has that gift. No matter where or when it was, if she saw a person with a difficulty, she would try to help them or teach them something. “Teaching,” she says, “isn’t just a job, it is more of a way to live, a part of yourself.” She always knew that she was supposed to teach for the rest of her life. But teaching in her part of the US is not always easy. Her desire to travel made her want to teach abroad, and after finishing her studies in Germany, at the University of Heidelberg, she moved to Spain to start her career.
From her point of view, everywhere you go, you learn something new and the society you live in shapes you. She told me, for example, that Germany taught her to be more efficient. Laos, where she lived from 2017-2019, taught her to be more perceptive and see how people react to her with their facial expressions and body language. All of this made her a better person and a better teacher.
When going back to her hometown, she can now say that she works in Paris, which was never done there. It has, over the years, become more progressive, which can be seen by the opening of bars and restaurants by the people of her generation. Furthermore, LGBTQ+ rights are developing and people refuse to be treated badly. This is, in some way, a proof that the world around us, which may not seem to be the best at first, can evolve to become one that we are proud of, even if it still needs some improvements.