Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Utah State University Faculty Honor Lectures


The Faculty Association, Utah State University

Publication Date



While considering topics appropriate for this lecture, I became encouraged by the thought that my quarter of a century of experience in foreign language teaching would surely suggest some interesting possibilities. Up until this moment, I had never consciously counted my years of service, and frankly when I realized that I had spent two and one-half decades in front of the blackboard teaching French as a second language mainly to Anglo adults, I began to feel within the rumblings of a need to mark this anniversary in some significant way. Several days later in an amusing conversation with a friend, the subject of career years came up again. This time my colleague and I were counting years of service still ahead. The conversation was prompted by one of those days when everything about the job seemed perfunctory and unchanging. We jokingly wondered if we had the stamina to teach Bonjour in sixty more courses, to 1,800 more students, for 3,000 more class periods. These large numbers, that we so cleverly calculated to emphasize the routine and boredom that the next twenty years seemed to hold in store at that funny black moment on that atypically grey day, brought back the statistics I had discovered only a few days before. I had already taught Bonjour in more than seventy-five courses, to more than 2,250 students, for more than 3,750 hours. With some reflection, the task of doing Bonjour for twenty-five years had not actually been that tedious. Truthfully, as I quickly looked back, I began to realize that the Bonjour renditions have enjoyed remarkable variation over the years, so much variation and enjoyment that a story began to suggest itself.


This work made publicly available electronically on August 16, 2011.