Math teacher Noah Franske to teach in Vietnam

Brooke Sheehy, administrative beat lead

When Pre-Calculus and BC Calculus teacher Mr. Noah Franske first started teaching during the 2012-2013 school year, he knew in the back of his mind that after teaching for five years he was going to take a leave of absence to have one more “crazy” adventure. Never did he realize that his adventure would bring him to teach in Vietnam.

In an EHS teaching contract there is this policy where if you work at EHS for five years, you can take a leave of absence of up to five years. “I kind of told myself if in five years I haven’t put down roots here– like I don’t feel like I have a reason to stay– that I am going to go do something wild,” Franske said.

As a hobby for the past two years, Franske has been a blackjack dealer at Mystic Lake Casino and initially thought about taking a leave of absence to work on a cruise ship dealing blackjack. “This is something that is still on my bucket list because I am still hoping to do it at some point, but they weren’t hiring at the beginning of this year,” Franske said.

During winter break, Franske applied to over 75 different schools all over the world through the company Search Associates, a website similar to The Common Application for teachers who want to teach abroad. “I had a bunch of interviews over Skype, and it’s nice because you have all of these schools kind of fighting for you. I had opportunities on the table from South Korea, from Milan, from Switzerland, from Hawaii, and of course from Vietnam,” Franske said. Since he applied to over 75 different schools, there were many that he hadn’t heard back from, including a few in Japan, another location on his bucket list where he would love to teach one day.

“Southeast Asia is a place that I have always wanted to live in, even though I have never been there before. It sounds like an incredible place that is supposed to be beautiful with lots of interesting history and many great places to see and travel. I am doing this to have a new experience that is something totally out of the box and just went for it,” Franske said.

Franske will be stationed in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, where he will be teaching in an Australian school under a two-year contract. “I’m going to be teaching a very large population of Vietnamese students–it’s like 40 percent Vietnamese–and everyone else are people that are looking for an international experience, so people that are moving from place to place because of their parents’ jobs,” Franske said.

Franske’s plan is to come back to EHS somewhere between two and five years after the end of the 2018-2019 school year. “After those two years I might come back right away, but I may choose to chase those dreams of teaching in Japan, or maybe I’ll go deal blackjack on a cruise ship, or maybe I’ll do a combination of both, but I do hope to come back eventually,” Franske said.  

As the school year comes to an end, Franske realizes all of the things about EHS he will dearly miss during his leave. “Right now, the first things are starting to wrap up, like the math team season just ended. I’m like, aw, I’ve done that for five years, and I’m going to miss that. At Sweethearts, I was like gosh I’m going to miss going to dances,” Franske said.

He is excited for the future, but is reminiscing about his past five years as a math teacher and even further back to his days as a student at EHS. “I was even a student here and it’s like whoa… I have spent a lot of my life here. It’s going to be tough to leave I think but it’s exciting too,” Franske said.

The week that Franske made his decision, he remembers closing his door and talking to his calculus students about where it was he should choose to go next year. Senior Will Hager was shocked to hear that Franske wouldn’t be teaching at EHS when he comes back next year to visit all of his favorite teachers during winter break. “I was really sad. I didn’t believe it at first, and you know I was just like how are the kids gonna learn BC now that he’s gone because he is the reason that I did well in that class,” Hager said. He went on to explain how many students find BC Calculus a really hard class but that Mr. Franske makes it easier through his positive attitude and dedication towards his student’s success.

A majority of the students are excited for him and confirmed that Vietnam was the obvious choice because it sounded like such a wonderful adventure. “It was just so cool to hear their support, and then when I told my pre-calc classes, it was similar. They were just like, it’s a bummer that you’re leaving but that is such a cool opportunity. I think that that is just the kind of spirit that students at Edina have. They have such a passion and desire to explore and see the world,” Franske said.