Accessibility Navigation:

Interview with Heather Langille

Langille, Heather
Fisher, Andy
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Cultural identification
Heather Langille talks about the differences between the North and the South and teaching sixth and ninth grades.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Andy Fisher interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
HL (Heather Langille): Heather Langille, Rochester, New York.
AF (Andy Fisher): Heather, um, what's one of your favorite memories of childhood?
HL: Um, when I was little, my mom and my aunt and my cousin and I used to go over to my aunt's house and we would set up a tent in her back yard. And, um, her back yard was actually at that point just a big cement slab but um, // we would go-. //
AF: // [Laughs] //
HL: -And we would toast marshmallows and, um, buy like the little, tiny little hot dogs and stick them on sticks and, and we would go and get cans of pop and I never got cans of pop, my mom would let me pick out whatever kind I wanted and sit up all night and tell ghost stories and sing songs and stuff. // ( ) //
AF: // Very cool, // very cool. Um, since you're from New York, up north, um, what do you see as major differences between there and here in North Carolina?
HL: In terms of school?
AF: In terms of school or just culture in general.
HL: Um, the area that I live in here-.
AF: // Um-hmm. //
HL: // In // Matthews it doesn't seem to be very much different in terms of culture. Uh, one thing I have noticed from the kids I've seen at school and listening to them, and the people that I've talked to at school, is that religion is very, um, it's part of everything and it's constantly referenced to and, even in school. And that's something that's incredibly different from New York, um, religion was something that people went to, to church and, but they really didn't talk about it much and it was never mentioned in school and that's all, that's kind of strange for me that it's mentioned in school // so much. //
AF: // Yeah. // Well, you are in the Bible Belt // so-. //
HL: // Yes, // I know. [Laughter]
AF: Uh, what do you miss most about home?
HL: Wegmans. // [Laughs] //
AF: // What is // it?
HL: It's the grocery store. // [Laughs] //
AF: // Oh, OK. Why, why do you miss the grocery store so much? //
HL: Because they had good stuff. I miss the stuff I used to buy at Wegmans.
AF: Like what?
HL: Um, well, there's only one kind of turkey cold cuts that I like, // and-. //
AF: // Oh. //
HL: -It was the Wegmans brand. And I haven't found kitty litter that works here, except the Wegmans brand. [Laughter] So, when I go home [laugh] I'm going to bring a big suitcase // of kitty litter home. //
AF: // There you go. // All right, understand that. // [Laughs] //
HL: // Uh. // But aside from Wegmans I miss mainly, just the people that I grew up with because I lived in a small town that I spent my entire life in so I knew-.
AF: Right.
HL: -Just about everybody there. And here I don't know very many people that I actually see on a regular basis-.
AF: // Right. //
HL: // -Other // than school. And that's about it. I miss // my grandma's. //
AF: // Now, what // don't you miss about home?
HL: [Laughs] I don't miss the cold. [Laughter] But it's getting cold here. [Laughter]
AF: You brought it with you.
HL: [Laughs] I don't miss the feet of snow. [Laughter] And my room is actually warm.
AF: Um-hmm, that's cool.
HL: But, um, aside from the weather, um, I have noticed at school, I know this could just be my group of kids, I have noticed that the kids are in general more polite. It also has to do with their age, because I taught ninth grade-.
AF: // Right. //
HL: // -And // now I am teaching sixth grade. They're more apt to, you say something, you're being incredibly rude and them say, "Oh, I'm sorry." Immediately. Whereas, you would constantly get more backtalk from the // kids that I taught. //
AF: // I think it's your kids. // [Laughter]
HL: I think, I think it might be the kids, and I think it might be the age.
AF: Right.
HL: But, I mean, with my kids, it was, they just had no desire to listen to anything I had to say. But I think part of it's the age, so I don't know how much is-, there's a lot of things that changed.
AF: Right. Now, did you teach science all year in the school you were in New York-.
HL: // Um-hmm. //
AF: // -Versus // the school you're in here?
HL: Yeah, I taught, um, earth science and biology. I taught two different subjects.
AF: Oh, // OK. //
HL: // And // it was all year 'round. It was high school, so-.
AF: Instead of splitting the semester and having to teach it all in one // semester. //
HL: // Yeah. //
AF: Um, what is your least favorite thing, now that you've been here for a few months, what is your least favorite thing about the schools down here?
HL: Um, I think, I don't know, I can't say much about all the schools down here, but as far as the way that science, that science is going here, I think the way that they're planning on having it all year round next // year-. //
AF: // Right. //
HL: -Will be a lot better. Um, I think a block is a nice period of time, but for sixth graders, it's too much.
HL: That, I taught in blocks last year, and we had blocks over the whole year, so instead of, the, having them for a whole block every day, we would have them for a whole block every other day. So it was the same amount of time-.
AF: Um-hmm.
HL: -But you can't put that much time into a block with sixth graders. You can't put that much information into a block with sixth // graders. //
AF: // Right. //
HL: They can't comprehend that much. So, in essence you're actually losing time, because you're trying to hold their attention and expect them to learn over such a long // period of time. //
AF: // Exactly. //
HL: And I think the, um, the concentration on math and communication skills is something that I'm not crazy about.
AF: Yeah, which I can // understand. //
HL: // I think, // I think that I, not even because I'm a science person, just because I think that it's, it's important for kids to get a little of everything in high school and middle school, because that's where they develop interests.
AF: Right.
HL: And just jamming them with so much of one type of thing is just kind of saying, "Well, this is more important for the rest of your life." And I don't think it really is for everybody.
AF: Well, we'll end this on, do you have a favorite thing, or a thing that you like better about the schools down here, than you do // back home? //
HL: // Um, // there seems to be more of a positive atmosphere. People are working together a lot and everybody that I talk to is, is pretty friendly. Where there's a lot, it's not always, the friendliness doesn't come always quite so soon, // at home. //
AF: // OK. //
HL: It takes a little while for people to get used to you. Um, and everybody that I've dealt with here's been very helpful and friendly and everything. So, that's something nice that I've seen that I've liked a lot, my colleagues.
AF: We're, we're glad that you like us.
HL: [Laughter]
AF: Well Heather Langille, thank you. // Appreciate that. //
HL: // Sure, // no problem.