From September to January, I taught at a little elementary school full of cute little children. I learned a lot. The kids were crazy, the admin was supportive, and the rest of the staff made me feel like a rock star. I made some thank you cards to say thank you.
(A brief note on the cards – I was trying to copy all that fancy calligraphy nonsense from Instagram and the like, but I don’t have a calligraphy pen so this was all done with Sharpies. I think it looks quite nice! Now I know that beautiful cursive writing is not beyond me.)
Being my first teaching job (and first ever real-life job ever! Ever!), I gained a loooot of insight on teaching, working with others, dealing with evil children, etc. One thing I am really thankful for is the fact that most of the kids liked me (and to be quite honest, I didn’t do much to deserve it and I was really quite sarcastic and dry with them). Even though people always say, “Not everyone will like you!”, I think it can really help their learning. I taught Grade 6 to 8 Core French, which basically means I rolled around on a cart through the school and invaded teachers’ classrooms and tried to make kids communicate in a language that most of them will never even attempt to speak again after Grade 9. It could’ve been really tough, but I tried to make it super fun! I even played games with badly behaved classes … (not sure if this is a good idea … it worked out okay in the end).
Throughout the 5 months, I often had moments of “Am I even teaching them anything?!?!?!”. But the most wonderful thing ever happened during my last week of school – evidence that I had taught at least one kid SOMETHING! At the start of the school year, I asked the students to answer a few questions on what they thought about French, things that they did in previous years that they enjoyed, words they knew. Then we did the same activity right before I left. Some kids didn’t have much difference in their answers, most kids knew more words after the 5 months, but one kid in particular had experienced the most wonderful shift in his feelings towards French that I almost cried in class!!!!
I shall transcribe to give context of questions and also because the student’s spelling is not very good.
- What language(s) do you speak? English, French
- Why do we learn French at school? We are being tortured because it is Canada’s second language.
- How do you feel about French? I hate it because it is not fun.
- What was something you did last year in French class that you liked? Nothing!!!!
GET READY FOR THE BIG REVEAL.
- Why do we learn French at school? We learn French because it is Canada’s second language and it can help us get jobs because some companies need you to speak French.
- Do you like learning French? Yes. Sometimes I don’t like learning French but other times it can be very enjoyable. It can be enjoyable when I understand what we are learning but if I don’t it is not enjoyable.
- What was something we did in French class this year that you liked? One thing that I liked about French was I actually learned new words and had fun doing it.
It was SO encouraging to see how a short 5 months completely changed this one kid’s perspective on learning. Maybe this should be my goal in every class I teach, because there will likely be at least one kid who either hates school or hates the subject or hates learning. I want to make kids who hate learning like it at least a little bit more than before. Fortunately, I have a couple of grumpy, apathetic teenagers this semester … there is much work to be done … mwahahaha!