New Teacher Profile: Ms. Khasanova
VIVE LE FRANCAIS! To this proclamation, students enter Ms. Khasanova’s classroom. Shelves are fitted with colorful paperback books, Eiffel tower souvenirs and a painting of a cobbled stone alley; the walls are plastered with landscapes of monuments and smiling cartoon children practicing French verb conjugations.
The space students learn in is of the utmost importance to Ms. Khasanova. “When students walk in,” she says, “the atmosphere is… an immersion in French culture, in France.” As someone with an interest in interior design, she decorated her room with careful deliberation to create a welcoming environment for students to learn not only language, but also new perspectives. Ms. Khasanova’s favorite aspect of teaching is “seeing… how [she impacts the student’s] vision of the world… helping [them] be citizens of the world”.
This too is reflected in her teaching style, as she enjoys teaching through immersion: roleplays, conversations, and acting, rather than I-say you-say and memorization. Her philosophy is that students can’t learn a language through listening alone; students in her class are encouraged to take an active role and “learn together as a team.”
When I asked her about any hidden talents, she paused and glanced away before chuckling to herself, “I asked my daughter that, and she said, ‘You can speak seven languages!’ Some people may think, ‘Oh wow,’ but when you’re growing up in that multicultural community, you just naturally learn in that environment.” Ms. Khasanove revealed that she only studied French and English in college; she knows Uzbek, Russian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and Turkmen because of family, friends, and community.
If there’s one thing Ms. Khasanova misses most from her home country of Uzbekistan, it would be her family: “I was the youngest, the baby,” she reminisces about her brothers and sister spoiling her with attention. Her fondest memories of her childhood include big, boisterous, family gatherings during the holidays and celebrations, the biggest of which was New Year’s Eve, feasting and chatting and playing with family.
Ms. Khasanova’s interest in French was sparked as a young girl while reading Victor Hugo’s The Count of Monte Cristo and wanting to understand the original text. Her favorite book is Á la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time), Marcel Proust’s massive 7 volume, 4,215 page, 1.27 million word masterpiece. Her love for French classic literature has certainly not waned!
Diversity is an issue we often grapple with at this school, being a fairly insular and privileged community. The HHS experience is only enhanced by the introduction of staff, and students, with an appreciation and immersion in multiculturalism. Ms. Khasanova’s life and approach to teaching embody this richness of experience and appreciation for culture and perspective. We greatly appreciate her presence at Hanover High School and hope she enjoys her time teaching here!