In French lycées, part of the curriculum for seconde classes (10th grade) is a class called ECJS: Education civique, juridique, et sociale. The weirdest thing about teaching this class (besides, obviously, not being an expert on French civics, justice, or law…) is teaching it in French. Do I speak French with my students in English class? Of course I do. But every time I do, I think subconsciously, “This is wrong, this is cheating, I shouldn’t be doing it, I’m giving them short shrift!” Apparently over the past five years this thought has become so reflexive that I really have a hard time not saying SOMETHING in English. In ECJS, I often start my French sentences with, “So…” or answer a question asked in French, “Yes…” or say “Excuse me” when walking past a student whose book-bag is in the middle of the floor. At least part of the class knows me from English class or from English oral atelier, so I don’t think they’re too shocked. But it’s a serious trip for me.

Fortunately I don’t teach more than one language. At least there’s no Spanish or German coming out of my month. As for my students, there is quite often a German or Spanish expression that comes out in the place of English.


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