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Teacher Feature: William Rivé


By Aimee Buttenbaum, Co-T/E-Life Editor

When studying to be a teacher, one must master his area of expertise, but Monsieur William Rivé has already mastered his subject by the time he was a toddler. 

Born in Paris, Rivé’s first language was French. Both grandparents on his father’s side of the family are French, while his mother’s parents are from Sicily. 

“My parents both grew up in Paris, and that’s where they had me, my sister and my brother,” Rivé said. “Then while I was seven we moved to the suburbs of Paris, about an hour south of Paris.”

Rivé had never planned to move to the U.S. until he met his wife. The two met in Paris when Rivé’s wife was working as an English teacher’s assistant. 

“She was back (in the U.S.) already for a few weeks because her program was over, and then she asked me if I would like to visit for a couple of weeks, so it’s been 12 years,” Rivé said. “I ended up staying here.” 

From the time that they met, Rivé has only spoken to his wife in French and his wife has only spoken to him in English. Those are the languages they both feel most comfortable communicating in, and since they understand both, it works out.

His children, Cameron, 7, and Juliette, 4, are growing up learning both languages. Rivé speaks French to the kids while his wife speaks to them in English. 

“I want my children to be totally bilingual,” Rivé said. “I speak English, but not in front of the kids normally, and they aren’t allowed to speak to me in English.”

Rivé loves playing soccer and began taking the sport seriously when he was 17. He played for Montgomery County Community College when he was earning his teaching degree. 

While Rivé still plays pick-up soccer games, his main hobby is cooking. At Rivé’s home, he is the cook, having learnt everything he knows from his parents as well as from playing around with meals by himself. 

“I don’t like to follow recipes usually. I like to just go for it and see what happens,” Rivé said. “Usually it works out pretty well. Usually.” 

Although Rivé didn’t always dream of being a teacher, he says that he can’t imagine himself doing anything else. Teaching classes French III, IV, V and VI gives Rivé the unique opportunity to have students for four years.

“It’s a different relationship that we end up having,” Rivé said. “It’s nice to see them grow, and you see how much they’re learning.” 

Rivé says watching students develop their skills is the most rewarding part. 

“I think that’s important, too — to be able to follow each other throughout those three or four years and see what you guys become and what level you get to, and that’s what I really enjoy,” Rivé said. 

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