Words by Marléna Ahearn
Photos by Julia Merrell
When Chloé came to Rochester, she knew she wanted to teach. She wanted to do it in an original way, drawing from her experience coming to the US and learning all the practical things, like how to grocery shop and avoid faux pas. Having experienced the painful period of wanting to be able to express herself but not having the words to do so, she now dedicates her time to help others feel freedom and acceptance—especially when traveling.
“When I first moved to the US, everything was challenging for me. My English was kind of poor. I had everything to learn—the culture, the language, the daily life. So, I thought if everything will be challenging, I can do things that I didn’t dare to do before,” says Chloé.
So, she became her own boss.
In addition to teaching through both Alliance Française of Rochester and Rochester Brainery, Chloé is the author of two books: Irrégulières and Mémoires d'éléphant. As a long time lover of words, writing and teaching is a natural fit. As an author, her favorite part of writing is when a reader reads her work they feel something completely different that what intended.
“When I’m writing I feel like I’m co-building. I’m building a little bit, and the reader is building a different part, and together we are making a different universe,” she says.
Instead of reciting grammar off a whiteboard, Chloé’s classes focus on interactions and practical skills. But she believes the first key to success is confidence.“I think to feel confident, you really need to take the first step. Even if you say bonjour with a weird accent, you’ve said bonjour! You can do it,” says Chloé.
As both a writer and a teacher, she aims for inclusion. In France, she taught a student who had a disability. Through that experience, she learned that everyone is capable, but everyone has a different way of learning and that we all need support.“When i had this experience with this special, extraordinary teenager, I realized that the top tool every teacher should give to a student is confidence. If a student is confident, nothing is impossible,” says Chloé.
Ultimately, she wants to give people the ability to be able to be themselves and not silence themselves when they go somewhere knew. By learning even a little bit of language and having the confidence to move past mistakes you can succeed.