I first heard of Sabrina Sebban-Janczak through Ben Slavic. In 2014 he posted this about her:
“I have decided not to teach the morning classes at iFLT. I want to concentrate my energies on the afternoon (and hopefully evening) sessions with the War Room group. So I have asked Sabrina to do the morning teaching and luckily for us she has responded yes. Watching Sabrina teach this summer for those coming to Denver is going to be a real treat. No one has her style, especially her unmatched kindness and patience. She is a master of SLOW and of smiling, and she is genuine. The way she reacts to things the kids suggest is the gold standard and we should all try to emulate what she does as she interacts with her kids. It’s real. She gets all of this work – she gets all the technique and strategies then she adds frosting to them.”
So in 2014 when I needed another French teacher for the Agen Workshop, I immediately contacted Sabrina about coming and she accepted. With so much talent available, we also organized a special immersion course the week before for non-native teachers of French. Sabrina gave them Comprehensible Input lessons in the morning and during the afternoons we visited a horse farm, a bee keeper, a hat shop and organized a treasure hunt in the streets of Agen. There were many memorable moments as Sabrina and her students learned about their hosts’ passions. Sabrina has continued to organize these pre-workshop immersion classes and everyone who has participated has been delighted.
Through the years I’ve come to know Sabrina better. I appreciate her gentle, happy disposition. I’ve learned not to ask too much of her, because she will never say no. I respect her professional competence and her intellectual honesty. Year after year the teachers who come to the Agen Workshop rave about her skill with students, her ability to inspire and motivate both students and observers. But I think what everyone remembers best is the laughter and the fun.
When I ask for feedback here is what a few participants have said:
This course is an amazing opportunity for non-native French teachers who want to brush up on their French, meet some cool French people and observe the teaching skills of an amazing teacher! Carly Edelman, New York
Sabrina’s course was wonderful! One of the great advantages is just getting to hang out with Sabrina. She models what it means to care about students and the patience required to teach. Her humor shines through her interactions and makes for a fun and educational experience. Don Read, California
Sabrina, I really appreciated the opportunity to be in your immersion course and in your French language labs in the conference. It was a powerful combination. Jolyn Sawatzky, Canada
Robert Harrell considers Sabrina “a master TPRS teacher” and did both her immersion course and her Workshop lab course the following week.
In conclusion, Sabrina has become an important element of our Agen Workshop both as a teacher and as a model for other teachers.