March 24, 2013 | by Contributor
Dr. Lois Jarman Finds French and Teaching

Dr. Lois Jarman never wanted to be a teacher, not in a million years. She wanted to be a lawyer, and so she set out to do just that. Life had different plans for her, however, when she found French.

She currently teaches French at Shepherd University. She also writes interest pieces for the Frederick News Post in Maryland.

When asked about why she decided to teach French, Jarman said, “I fell in love with the language. It was great, especially because it boosted my GPA. I was good at it.”

French soon turned into Spanish, then Chinese, and finally Hebrew. Mastery of language came surprisingly easy to Jarman. She finished a double major in three and a half years and went on to get a master’s degree. She also got married and had two children.

For a while, she spent her time volunteering at her children’s schools, logging in over a thousand volunteer hours. Her young son was not quite as enthusiastic about all the “mom time,” but Jarman found that she loved volunteering and teaching so much that she made a compromise with him.

“I said, all right, I’ll stop volunteering,” Jarman said. “But if you’ll let me substitute teach, I’ll buy Oriole season tickets.”

The deal worked, and so began Jarman’s career as a teacher.

Jarman has worked at several different schools, including Middletown High School, Thomas Johnson High School, Catoctin High School, Frederick Community College and most recently Shepherd University. She started off her collegiate teaching career at Frederick Community College in Maryland.

“It was great,” she said. “You didn’t have all the hassles that went along with teaching high school. The students actually wanted to learn, which was amazing.”

Jarman taught at FCC for four years and built up a French program from scratch. She was also in the midst of her doctorate and decided to apply for a full-time position at FCC. After waiting, she finally got called in about her application.

Jarman said, “They called me all the way in just to tell me that they weren’t even going to give me the chance to interview. They wanted someone with a doctorate, and even though I had built the entire program from top to bottom and would have my Ph.D. in the next two years, that evidently wasn’t good enough for them. So I left.”

The college went on to hire a candidate with a doctorate fresh out of school. Not even a year later, Jarman got a call from the college informing her that they had been having trouble with one of their full-time French teachers. They were wondering if she would be willing to come in and run a seminar that would show the person how to teach the course properly. Jarman politely refused.

Jarman soon after sent out her résumé to different colleges throughout Maryland and West Virginia. She obtained a job working with Shepherd University, where she is currently employed.

Jarman is also responsible for Shepherd’s access to the Cannes Film Festival. Currently, Shepherd University is the only university in the country that offers students the highly coveted opportunity to intern at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in France.

As of now, former Shepherd student Bryan Staggers is the only American to ever have had the opportunity to work with the French in Cannes. Jarman said that there were many hoops to jump through in order to get this accomplished. This included the stacks of paperwork the festival required be filled out, which the university needed to translate into English. Another instance of trouble was when the festival inquired about who was going to pay the fee.

“Who’s going to pay the fee?” said Jarman. “It freaked us out a little bit until we realized that there had been a language miscommunication. They had meant stipend instead of fee, and once we figured that out, it got a lot easier.”

Jarman was able to get the application for Staggers partially because of her continued connection with her friends in France.

Jarman said, “We hosted an exchange student in 1999 and fell in love with him, semi-adopted him, met the rest of the family, loved them, met extended family, loved them. My daughter lived with them for a month. We went to his wedding, etc., etc. And that’s how I met all of them.”

She still manages to keep in regular contact with them through social media outlets and such. She also gets to see them face-to-face occasionally due to her husband’s position as a Delta Airlines pilot.

Jarman also runs a drag show, the proceeds of which go to help AIDS patients. She has even written 10 books for about what life in the Middle Ages was like.

Jarman, who received her master’s degree with a concentration in medieval studies, wanted the books and the corresponding website to be for young girls. She wanted to educate them about real life medieval princesses as well as what castle life and life in general was like in that time period. All 10 books come with a look-alike doll dressed in period clothing.

Jarman has been to every country that the girls in her books lived. There have been requests from all over the country for the books and dolls, from both private homes and schools, as well as the Girl Scouts. With 10 books and dolls under her belt, Jarman hopes to finish with 15 in total.

The AIDS benefit has been done once a year for the past 12 years and comes in the rather unorthodox but fun guise of a drag show. People wishing to make donations can pay a small entry fee to help those suffering from AIDS-related complications and in return get to spend an entertaining evening watching the show.

Jarman said, “In the 12 years that the benefit has been going on, we have raised over $75,000 in aid for people suffering from AIDS and AIDS-related complications. It has done a lot of good.”

Jarman also enjoys contributing frequently to the Frederick News Post, where her articles appear most frequently in the “Art, Life, and Entertainment” section. Her most recent article covered her husband and son winning tickets to Super Bowl XLVII, which saw the Baltimore Ravens win against the San Francisco 49ers.

Jarman started off never wanting to be a teacher but became a valued instructor at five different schools, two of them at the collegiate level. She has come a long way from her original plan to become a lawyer, having found French and discovering her love of language.

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