You’ve probably heard this one before: French professor who used to run bodybuilding competitions.
“I just liked it,” Macomb adjunct faculty member Glykeria Zguris said of bodybuilding. “I had a passion for it.”
It’s the same thing she says about her love of the French language. She was born in Greece and has earned degrees in both French and educational leadership from four different schools, including a doctorate from Roosevelt University in Chicago, which she commuted to by plane even with three children at home in Michigan.
“I have little sympathy when students can’t get to class,” she says with a smile. “If you want it bad enough, you’ll get it.”
Along the way, Zguris picked up that interesting side job of organizing high-end fitness pageants, and she says the bodybuilding principle of “show your strengths, hide your weaknesses” also comes in handy studying a language, which alternately requires speaking, reading and writing.
“Are most of my students going to become French scholars? No. But I at least want them to be able to sit in an airport in France and speak to someone,” she said. “I got one of my biggest compliments from a student who said, ‘Wow, this is easier than Spanish!’ I almost fainted, but it was because I made it feel easy for him.”
Zguris has also paraglided off a cliff in the French Alps, which she said “cured” her bucket list wish to jump from something high. It’s discovering those kind of surprising features of people she enjoys most about getting to know her students.
“The book is the book and grammar is grammar,” she said. “But I get to meet so many different people in class, and that’s what I like.”