Global Teachers: Madame Roy


Madame Roy with her daughter in front of a mural in Quebec.

Madame Roy (pronounced like the French word for king, le roi) teaches French here at Nauset Middle School. The Canadian native grew up in Quebec and lived there for most of her life. She was born in a town called Sept-Îles, which in English, translates to Seven Islands, even though the town is not actually an island. She then lived in the suburbs of Montreal in a town called Saint-Jérôme which is known for skiing. 

As a kid, she would visit the US for vacations with her parents. She would visit places like Vermont and New Hampshire. Then for college, she moved to a city called Sherbrooke. After college she lived in Montreal. In 2007, she left Quebec and started working for Cirque du Soleil. Roy was on tour with the show teaching young artists and the children of the artists. She thought she was going to do it for a year or two, but ended up doing it for six. In 2013 she moved to Cape Cod to settle down and have a family. 

When talking about her move to the United States, Roy shares that there were not too many shocking differences. Roy says, “I did not have a cultural shock, especially because I had been working in the country for several years already.” The only major difference that she had to adapt to was language. However, there was one silly difference that she related. “The first time I heard of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I thought oh my gosh, what is that? It sounded really weird to me, but then I tried it and I loved it.”

Speaking of food, some foods from Quebec that she likes are Poutine. Poutine is a dish of french fries, but there are cheese curds added and it is topped with a brown gravy. Another dish that she likes is Pate Chinois. Pate Chinois is like Quebec’s version of Shepherd’s pie. 

We spoke right before Christmas so she told me the differences between Christmas here and Christmas there. During Christmas time in Quebec, the big night is the 24th, not the 25th. Families get together and celebrate. She would go to her grandma’s house and have a ton of food. The Christamas meal in Quebec is the equivalent of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the US. There is turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. One of Roy’s favorite Christmas dishes is the meat pie. It is a savory pie with different types of meat and there are spices added like cinnamon and nutmeg. There is also a liver pate, a sugar pie, a meatball stew and Buche De Noel. Buche De Noel, known in the states as Yule Log Cake,  is a light sponge cake rolled and then covered in chocolate or coffee buttercream. The outside of the cake has icing on it that is made to resemble the bark of a log. 

Roy tells me that she loves her life on Cape Cod, but that she misses winter.  We do have a winter here, but it doesn’t snow as often or as much as the Canadienne is accustomed to. She says that snow makes the holidays more magical. “If it’s going to be cold, at least let me have some snow!” 

If you live in Quebec, snow is definitely part of your reality, but it’s not cold all the time. Quebec’s summers are hotter than the Cape’s because Quebec is inland. 

If someone were to visit Quebec, Madame Roy suggested they visit Quebec City. It’s small so that makes it easy to walk around and easy to navigate. There’s a lot of history in Quebec City. There are a lot of great markets and restaurants. It’s very clean and it’s very safe. She tells me that “Quebec city is probably the most European looking city in North America.” Quebec City is also the only fortified city in North America, which means that there is a wall around the whole city. The whole city is even on a cliff by the St. Lawrence River.

We are so fortunate to have Madame Roy as a teacher here. It is cool to have someone teaching their language and culture to her students with a positive attitude and a smile.