Single white female seeks Liberal Arts College for international conversation for French cuisine and many bon mots.
This may sound like a dating ad, but unfortunately for all you singles, it isn’t!
Jill Gaeta, most commonly known by friends and family as “Jilly Bean,” is the new French professor at The College of St. Scholastica.
Gaeta is single, loves to read, and watch movies. She enjoys evenings out with friends and taking long walks, as well as traveling and smaller expeditions such as hiking.
She moved to Duluth, Minn., from Michigan, a few months before starting her job at Scholastica. She does not have kids, unless you want to count her dog and bunnies.
Gaeta’s love for reading has no boundaries, though she admits to loving Jane Austen’s work. Her bookish life has also been impacted by moving images, especially those focused on science fiction and fantasy.
“I like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Terminator, just to mention a few,” Gaeta said.
But Gaeta is not at Scholastica to watch wizards fly around in brooms or elves and self-proclaimed great wizards fight for a ring full of evil.
She is at Scholastica to teach French to those interested in learning another language.
It is rare when I encounter a teacher with such passion and love for others to learn."
-Student of Gaeta
"Bonjour! Comment ça va?" Translated as, "Good morning! How are you?," this is usually the way Gaeta greets her students at the beginning of class. However, for the sake of English readers, this piece contains only minor French references.
Gaeta teaches Conversational French, Intermediate French, Readings in French and other classes that anyone can think of that end in the word French (and that, of course, are in the Scholastica program).
Since it is a French class, she does not allow English in her classroom (except for the occasional beginners) and those students that get away with speaking English in between explanations.
“Sometimes I cannot understand a word she says; it gets so confusing, but I try ‘cause French is so beautiful, and well, a sexy language,” said one of her current students.
Gaeta grew up in Southern California, moving around from Los Angeles to San Diego when she was only 6 years old, then back up to L.A. when she was 12. But the moving around did not affect her normal functioning at all.
Moving around inside the state and then moving out for college prepared her for the new travels she was about to pursue.
Gaeta has been all over Western Europe, Hungary, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Canada.
After moving around Southern California, she decided to move to Oregon, where her career began.
Before becoming a professor, Gaeta attended the University of Oregon for her undergraduate degree and then Michigan State University for her master’s degree and doctorate.
Before graduate school, she worked as a teaching assistant in Lycee (which means high school) Marseille, France, and then moved to pedagogical training before finally diving into teaching focused seminars/conferences.
She taught high school students once in France, which influeced her decision to move to higher education. “I chose college level because of the students’ overall maturity,” Gaeta said.
Such passion for the French language and education in general, has left some of her students flabbergasted.
“It is rare when I encounter a teacher with such passion and love for others to learn,” said one student. “There are no words to describe how love and passion for teaching can impact the overall classroom experience.”
Even though Gaeta has not been part of the St. Scholastica community for a long time, her impact on her students and their education is great.
“Jill is truly a teacher at heart,” one admiring student said.