Tout le monde ne sait-il pas parler français? For those of us whom did not study the beautiful language of France, the sentence translated asks - Doesn't everyone know how to speak French? While many would have to answer, “Non,” more than two decades of Germantown Academy alumni who studied under Madame Linda Test would (hopefully) be able to answer with a resounding, “OUI!”
All things French are a passion for Madame Test. Her classroom display of flags and maps leave little to any guest’s imagination of what language she teaches. Her past travels prove that it really is a small world, and her care and concern for not only her French students, but her advisees and colleagues will all be missed when she closes the door on her GA teaching career this June.
“Every time I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Madame Test’s classes, I’ve been reminded why I fell in love with learning languages in the first place,” said Head of School Rich Schellhas 1760. “Passionate, highly skilled, and ‘all French, all the time,’ she immerses you in the language and culture with such enthusiasm and talent that students invariably wind up surprising even themselves by how much they learn. Linda has taught every level with grace, but she has always excelled in the honors and AP classes, where she diligently and marvelously prepares students to further their studies not just in college but also abroad in intensive university experiences. Administratively, Linda stepped up when we needed her most, collaborating with her favorite partner-in-crime, Carol Ayers, to co-lead the Upper School Modern Language Department and to continue its long tradition of outstanding teaching. Not to be overlooked is Linda’s wonderful care of students as an advisor and as supervisor of The Voyager, the annual Upper School Modern Language journal. While I will personally miss her greatly, I will live vicariously through her as she explores the world!”
While most students who study French come up to Upper School from GA’s Middle School language program and have a sense of what GA is like, the transition is still a big one and some students need help getting adjusted. On two occasions, Test was fortunate, and surprised, to meet students before they even set foot on the Fort Washington campus.
“We used to go to France every other year,” Test said. “We were in the Louvre, or it could’ve been Musée d'Orsay, but we’re with GA kids, we’re looking at all the paintings and it was beautiful. All of a sudden someone in our group stops to talk to a woman and her daughter, who turned out to be Amy Jeckovich ’12. She had just been accepted to GA, so she didn’t know me or anything. I asked her who her advisor was going to be, and she said ‘Linda Test.’ So, I was very happy to meet her.”
Another time when Test and her family went to France to visit friends, they were très surpris when the daughter of the friends told her she was set to attend GA the next year. And of course, Test was scheduled to be her French teacher!
“It’s just so fun to make those connections outside of GA,” Test said. “It is such a small world and I love helping students to express themselves in French and to learn about and appreciate different francophone cultures. It is always satisfying after they graduate and come back to GA to talk enthusiastically about their experiences in college and/or abroad and how well prepared they were.”
However, it is not just the minds of other people’s children that Test has enriched via her love of French. She also had the privilege of instructing her own three children and handing them their diplomas at graduation.
“It was great,” Test said. “I have one son and two daughters (Bradley Test ’04, Taylor Test-Iocco ’06, and Lyssa Test ’12). Both Bradley and Taylor came in ninth grade. My baby, Lyssa, started in the daycare when she was three. They all took French. They all did sports. They really took advantage of what GA had to offer, so I’m very grateful to GA for the education and the coaching experiences they got.”
With her youngest daughter getting the full Germantown Academy experience, Test was able to learn more about the school, something elle beaucoup aimé (she loved very much).
“I got to know the teachers in the Lower School and their programs and what made it special,” Test said. “Then when she went to the Middle School, I had a better idea of how the Middle School worked and got to know all those teachers.”
While Test has been recognized with a Distinguished Teaching Award and has led the French National Honor Society for many years, it is those teachers, colleagues, and students that Test will miss most when she moves on from Germantown Academy.
“You learn so much from the students,” Test said. “It’s not just you instructing them, it’s a symbiotic relationship. They’re so energetic and always learning. I love my colleagues; we really get along well and learn from each other. I’ve been very lucky to have that situation where everyone gelled. It’s remarkable.”
Merci beaucoup Madame Test. It has been a pleasure knowing you and learning from you.
May the connections you made at GA and around the globe lead you on to your next adventure.
Traveling to Paris, Normandy, and Provence with GA students, Buche De Noël competition and tasting, French cheese presentation by an alum and tasting, French regions presentations with culinary specialties made by students, visits to the Barnes Foundation and lunch at Parc, get-togethers with department members.
What She is Thankful For:
Working with such bright, motivated, and engaged students, the education GA provided for my own children, my colleagues who make working at GA a pleasure and a privilege.
The Next Page:
Doing whatever I want whenever I want. Being with my grandchildren, playing tennis, pickle ball, golf, spinning, traveling, reading, and decluttering.