I have to admit I was very nervous about the beginning of this school year. Last year was rough. As a stagiaire you’re under a lot of pressure to get every hour of class just right—the right amount of English (=99% of the class), participation from every student, an organized blackboard, calm and disciplined students, varied activities, all four skills, final tasks that are coherent with the activities during the unit, a level of English that pushes them but not too far… it was stifling. Not to mention I had some horrible classes where it was a struggle just to get done what I had planned without anyone openly criticizing me! Plus a tutor on my back just when things were going their worst!
Nonetheless, there’s a reason I didn’t quit last year (besides the fact that my right to work was limited…), and that’s because I wanted to give it another chance. I had planned things over the summer with my stagiaire friends from last year, for example about the American elections for my 3e. So in the days before the rentrée I ran across this quotation:
“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
And I tried to remember that, back when I decided to teach, this was the reason why. I don’t expect great leaps in progress from my students, but I do want them to be exposed to foreign words and thoughts and cultures, in the hopes that they’ll feel and think new things, eventually about themselves. One day last week I ran across a weak student of mine from a class of 2e last year, one who didn’t participate much, but was respectful. She asked me if I would be teaching her class this year (1e L), and I said no. “C’est mal fait!” she answered (that’s been badly done!). I couldn’t keep from smiling.
Things are in full swing this week and I have finally met all of my classes, including the BTS whom I met this morning. What a trip, working with almost-adults again. (Technically they are all adults, but 18-year-olds, you know how they can be….) Tomorrow I have two hours with them and then my third hour is with 12-year-olds. WHO ARE ADORABLE. They are the cutest people I have ever met. I think I scared them good last Thursday during our first hour but since then I think they’ve taken a liking to me nonetheless. One of them asked me yesterday during class if I had been in the United States for 9/11. I told them I was “au lycée” and some of them let out a little gasp.
So far, and I really hesitate to say this because I don’t want to jinx it, but so far, this year is shaping up to be nothing like last year. I honestly can hardly believe how different it is. I am so relieved I want to tell everyone I run into, but I don’t because I still think it might be too good to be true! Anyway, let’s hope it stays this way!
So umm, it’s hard to say what else is new because the rentrée has taken over my brain. Eventually I’ll have other things going on, like yoga on Monday evenings. And I have played a few concerts with the band. Plus I’ve been saying I would start rock-climbing this fall…eek!