In high school, counselors, teachers, and parents often begin to pressure their students on their career goals and plans. Many students feel forced to immediately choose their career path and worry about not being able to change it in the future. However, South’s new AP/IB French teacher, Gregory Hopper-Moore, has had extensive experience with changing his line of work.
“I actually attended SEHS for one year as a junior because the strings program was better here. I played violin, and I went on to be a music major in college, then decided I didn’t want to practice. After that, I was a physics major and spent a year in France,” Hopper-Moore said. “I just couldn’t learn physics in French, but I really enjoyed the language and culture. The rest is history.”
During his time in France, he realized how, despite taking six years of French, full immersion was an entirely new experience.
“I remember sitting in my dorm room in France the first year, listening to the radio in French, which was hard because there was no visual input. The only thing I got out of the entire broadcast was ‘les États-Unis’ and ‘George Bush’ because it was just so fast.”
Since then, Hopper-Moore has been working in education for more than 24 years. Interestingly, he has taught at South in the past. In 1999, Hopper-Moore started teaching AP French Literature and French I, as well as Values and Beliefs and Global Geography for freshmen in the French immersion program.
After Hopper-Moore taught at South, he had the opportunity to teach in Cameroon, a country in West Africa, from 2002 to 2004.
“I really enjoyed teaching in Cameroon because I was teaching students who were native Swiss speakers. There was a need to learn French because the school was located in the capitol and everyone was speaking French,” Hopper-Moore said.
After his experience in Cameroon, Hopper-Moore returned to Eugene to conduct educational research with the University of Oregon from 2004 to 2015. This year, he finally returned to South.
Now that he is back, Hopper-Moore teaches Expressions/Le Monde Francophone, AP French, and IB French. He is excited to help students learn and succeed. In addition, he is pleased to be teaching at South again, as well as advising South’s national championship pétanque team.
“My main goal is to help students appreciate the French language and culture. I want to challenge students,” Hopper-Moore said. “I don’t think language classes are known for being easy anyway, but I want to be known for pushing students to be their best.”
Outside of teaching, Hopper-Moore enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. An avid biker, he used to take part in century rides, in which participants bike 100 miles in one day. He is also involved with Rose Children’s Theatre, which is putting on “Aladdin Junior” from Oct. 14-16 and 21-23. Hopper-Moore will be backstage pulling the scenery while his daughter performs.
Hopper-Moore’s international background and eclectic life experiences continue to demonstrate just how varied the South staff is.