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Life After College: Camille Chabot’s Journey to Teaching in Paris After Beating Cancer (Twice)

August 11, 2018

Camille Chabot in Paris

DUBLIN, CA–Our latest Life After College profile closes the circle on Dublin High School Class of ’13 alum Camille Chabot (who has shared her story several times through high school and college). Camille’s public battle with cancer not once, but twice, is an important part of her story – but is not the whole story. Since we last spoke with Camille, after she graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a BS in Liberal Studies, she has gone on to complete teacher’s college (also at Cal Poly) and land a teaching job in Paris. We recently caught up with Camille to learn more about her life after college. You finished teacher’s college at Cal Poly – congratulations – where will you be teaching next year?

Camille Chabot: “I’ll be teaching English to 3 to 5 year olds at the Ecole Internationale Bilingue (which is an international bilingual school) in Paris for at least one year. It’s a pre-school through high school for French students, with multiple campuses around Paris (I’ll be in the 8th arrondissement).” How did you find an opportunity in Paris?

Camille Chabot: “I’ve always wanted to live in Paris. Last summer, when I studied abroad for three months, I thought I’d get the travel bug out of me. It turns out three months was not enough, and the summer is not the same as a full school year. I had always traveled to France with my dad or my mom, so I loved being on my own. The experience last summer made me think about working for an entire school year in Paris, after completing my teacher’s credential at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

“While visiting friends in Singapore last Christmas I was introduced to the Singapore American School, and those teachers introduced me to international schooling in general. I went to an international teaching fair in San Francisco and received offers to teach in China, Kuwait and Qatar but none of those options were catching my eye like the idea of going back to France.

“Because the school where I’ll be teaching doesn’t have all the benefits of other international schools, like housing, phone benefits, and covering other expenses, I had to find a way to make it work.” What is it about Paris that is so special to you?

Camille Chabot: “I was born in Paris, my dad is Parisian and grew up in France. I also have dual French / American citizenship. I want to further explore my French heritage and see if living in France long-term makes sense for me.

“I’m looking forward to the food – the cheese and bread – eleven days from now! I also have friends in Paris that I’m looking forward to seeing, and I’ll be closer to my French relatives.” Walk me through teacher’s college and the credentialing program.

Camille Chabot: “California is one of the toughest states to get a teaching credential. In California you need to take a 5th year of school just focusing on the teaching credential, which includes a lot of student teaching. I was in a kindergarten classroom for half of the year and a 3rd grade classroom for the other half. The program gradually increased the time in the classroom, combined with college courses, until I was teaching every single day.

“The college course component was very practical, teaching us how to teach children, how to understand why a child is making mistakes and how to fix those mistakes. I loved the classroom experience and what I learned in that 5th year. I have friends that went into Teach for America, where you go straight into the classroom without that 5th year, and I can’t imagine taking that path.” Describe the first day you walked into a classroom when you were the teacher – not just assisting but actually leading the class.

Camille Chabot: “My first class was a kindergarten class and you’d think it would be fine with children that age but I was intimidated! There are awkward transition periods where the kids are sitting on the carpet staring at you, you are waiting for the printer to finish printing the papers you need, and you have to come up with a song on the fly to keep the kids engaged. My master teacher was so good at those transitions. I was with her for six months of the school year and she saw me progress, see me get more comfortable in the classroom.” For a moment I’d like to go back in time to when you learned that you were clear of cancer, after battling the disease not once, but twice.


Camille Chabot: “2016 was the end of my bone marrow transplant and then I finished undergrad in June 2017. May of each year is when I am scanned, so each year around that time I have what is called ‘scanxiety‘ because you don’t know what the results are going to be. I have to take off a Friday to take the scan and a Monday to get the results, and every time I’ve been super grateful with a huge smile on my face driving back from the testing facility at Stanford hearing that I’m clear.

“I feel like I’ve become a different person from before I was diagnosed.” Talk more about that – how have you changed since the cancer diagnosis?

Camille Chabot: “I’m more determined. I’m not sure I would have done the credential program if I hadn’t been diagnosed, I may have just stopped at my undergrad degree and decided to do a different job. Have a cancer diagnosis not once, but twice, made me more determined, and have a more positive outlook on things.” It’s interesting that you say that the diagnosis led you to a more positive outlook; explain.

Camille Chabot: “You’d think it would be the opposite. I realized that had changed about me at the end, but it really was a change that happened during the experience. Even when I was in ‘captivity’, in the transplant room for three weeks unable to leave the hospital, you’d think I’d be there sobbing and hating my life. Instead I was taking classes at Foothill and making sure I got out of bed every day. I was super motivated. I did not want a cancer diagnosis to stop me from living my life.” You’ve been very public about your cancer diagnosis and recovery. What advice do you have for people you’ve met, other survivors and those battling cancer?

Camille Chabot: “My advice is to not be afraid of how people may judge or treat you. Despite graduating from Dublin High School five years ago I’m sure there are people who look back and think ‘oh yeah, Camille, that cancer girl’. You have to get over that you may be known as ‘the cancer girl’.

“I graduated college on time, earned my teaching credential a year later and just landed a job in Paris while battling cancer not once, but twice, so sure – you can call me ‘the cancer girl’ – whatever!” At some point you decided you wanted to be a teacher as a concept, now you’ve actually had experience in the classroom. How does the experience compare to what you expected?

Camille Chabot: “There is a lot more prep than I realized. I’ve also learned how important it is to try and see the world through the eyes of the child. Why does the child believe 2 + 2 = 5? How can you help guide the child to understand the correct answer? I’d never thought about how hard it is to change your perspective to that of the child.

“I loved the credential program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The first quarter was so difficult, it was a lot of work, but as the year went on I became more comfortable in the position, and it validated teaching is what I’m meant to do.”


One Comment
  1. Kerrie Maddock Chabot permalink
    August 15, 2018 8:22 pm


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