Thomas Mandala brings over two decades of enthusiasm about teaching to his new position in the French division of Concord Academy’s Modern and Classical Languages Department.
Mandala’s love of education was sparked at a young age. Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he began tutoring his peers in French grammar and conjugation after his middle school classes. According to Mandala, “The passion of transmitting what I knew to other people drew me to teaching.” This excitement continued to grow as he assumed subsequent jobs teaching English as a Foreign Language and French to middle and high school students in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Eventually, Mandala brought his passion with him to the United States, where he was a teaching assistant of French at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a volunteer and later an adjunct at the City Colleges of Chicago, and a middle and high school teacher of French at an independent school in Chicago before he came to CA. Since his early teaching experiences, he has had the opportunity to work with students of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds, all of which have fueled his devotion to the career.
Mandala himself was educated from elementary school through college in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and then in the United States at Parkland College, University of Illinois and Northeastern Illinois University. He was originally drawn to CA by the classroom environment, the advanced curricula, the engaged community members and the flexibility allowed by common trust. He said he “immediately fell in love” with the school when he first visited.
Mandala is excited about the upcoming year. He will be teaching one section of French 1, two sections of French 2, and one section of French 4, Cinema: “The Seventh Art.” He is especially looking forward to immersing his students in the French language and culture by leading the trip to France over March break.