Voices (ISL Stories)

Meet Chantal

Learn more about Chantal, Luxembourgish Integration Teacher in the Lower School

Please introduce yourself briefly
My name is Chantal Wagener-Frantz. I am, what is called here in Luxembourg, a “Stack Lëtzebuerger”, someone whose ancestors and their ancestors have lived and worked in Luxembourg. I was born and raised in the south of Luxembourg, called the MInett, and completed the Luxembourg School System before immigrating to the United States in 1990.

Tell us about your role at ISL
I teach and integrate the Luxembourgish culture through the different Units of Learning in the Lower School (Preschool-Grade 5). Through a model called “Lëtz KoolTour”, students learn basic words and phrases in the local language (Luxembourgish-Lëtzebuergesch), discover the country, its traditions and more. Part of my role is also to develop connections between the school and the local population. 

How long have you been working at ISL?
Since 2012.

What did you do prior to working at ISL?
I lived and studied in Luxembourg, until I immigrated to the United States in 1990. Parallel to my roles of wife, mom and full-time student, I pursued an Associate Degree in Applied Science with a focus on Early Childhood Education. Next, I decided to finish my studies with a Bachelor Degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Lastly, I completed a Master Degree in Elementary Education with a focus in English as an Additional Language. Our family decided to return to Luxembourg after having lived in the States for 23 years. Our 2 daughters were raised in a bilingual household and with the best European and American cultures. The oldest daughter is now living and working in the Netherlands and the youngest lives and works between America and Europe. 

What does your typical day look like?
It is a difficult question to answer since every day of the week is quite  different from the preceding one. I teach students in 8 different grades and my schedule has a high degree of flexibility in order to support the requirements of the units of learning. On top of that, I am meeting with local schools, politicians, employees from different companies, and so on, in order to build a community in which we are all connected and learn from each other - an outside/inside learning environment.

What do you love most about your work?
I love being flexible and working with teachers and students from many different grades, backgrounds and cultures/nationalities. Sometimes, I still feel like being a student myself, because of all the different learning and enriching opportunities that are going on in this job/school.   
 

Chantal Wagener holding a luxembourgish book

What do you think is unique about ISL?
Its diversity. The International School of Luxembourg brings together over 50 student nationalities speaking more than a dozen different languages, in addition to over 35 staff nationalities. This makes ISL one of the most unique and culturally diverse schools of its kind and creates both an enriching and unparalleled cultural identity. It’s like being in a different country and meeting with the locals from that country each week. 

On a daily basis, how do you contribute to making ISL, the school of choice?
An important part of my job is to ensure that our students feel at home in Luxembourg and at ISL. While not all of ISL's students are long-term or permanent residents in this country, establishing a sense of familiarity and connectedness to a country as a home can only add to their sense of security and identity, and aid in their overall development.

Describe what ISL does above and beyond teaching and learning?
Teaching open-mindedness, reinforcing inquiry-based learning/teaching, growing into life-long learners, cultivating diversity, equality, caring, and making you feel part of a fun and loving ISL family

What are the most important skills a student should acquire today?
Respect, a love of learning, kindness, following one’s dreams

How did you define the success of a student?
Hearing that “AHA” moment, witnessing that big smile on his/her face, feeling that success inside and out, seeing the student being compassionate, joyful, and full of laughter 

What is your best memory at ISL?
My best memory at ISL is when I was approached by an American colleague of mine at school, asking me why aren’t most Luxembourgers as cool, friendly and open-minded as I was. I told her that I acquired most of  this open-mindedness and friendliness during my life in the States and travelling to different countries.  Indeed, the majority of most Luxembourgers are often very distant and keep to themselves when first meeting a “stranger”, especially the older generation and/or the ones who haven’t travelled much. Eventually, they will open up and even become your friend, but only after a very long time. Behaviour learned during the trying times of World War One, and, especially during the Nazi Occupation of the Second World War, are mostly to blame for the cautious and prudent attitudes demonstrated by many fellow Luxembourgers. Therefore  the Motto: “Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sinn.”

Describe ISL in 5 words
Welcoming, Caring, Supporting, Multiculturalism, Friendly 

Do you have a motto?
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world!”
Nelson Mandela 
 

 

 

 

 

 

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