Mary Demars brings a broad range of teaching experiences to her classrooms. Her education background is, as she puts it, “eclectic”. She initially taught chemistry and biology at the high school level. After a hiatus from teaching while raising her own children she returned to teach 8th grade physical science in Northbrook. She then became a school administrator and now teaches French for fourth grade students at Cherokee and Sheridan as well as students at DPM. In addition to living in and traveling to France she has hosted a French student and facilitated the creation of French e-mail-(pen)pals for her middle school students. She has been associated with District 67 for 10 years. If you see Mrs. DeMars in the hallways, be sure to congratulate her on the upcoming weddings of her two sons.
Q: Where do you call “home?”
A: I have lived in Wisconsin, Kansas, France for a year, and I now live in Deerpark.
Q:Why would you encourage students to begin French (or any language) at the elementary level?
A: There are many reasons. In addition to learning a language for communication, learning a language reinforces and builds English language and vocabulary. Take the French words chaos and hors d’oeuvre, for example. We talk about the roots of words and their meanings. Learning a foreign language expands the connections they (students) make with the world. We learn about other customs and cultures, comparing and contrasting with our own American customs and culture. Language learning is applied to math, numbers and counting and it expands geography knowledge. Another element of language study is history. There is so much that is gained by studying a language.
Q: How much French study do the students receive at Cherokee?
A: The students study French for 30 minutes every day.
Q: When not teaching, what other activities do you enjoy?
A: I volunteer as a tutor to a Spanish family. I am ESL certified. I enjoy reading. I jog and run marathons and I ski.
Q: Anything you would like to tell Cherokee parents?
A: Learning a language helps children form an understanding that we live in a global society; that there is more than one way to do some things. By understanding that cultures differ, we foster open-mindedness. Studying other cultures also help our children evaluate what we value in America. It helps you define who you are by seeing the differences between yourself and others.