Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween Comes To France

This week my students got an introduction to American culture because we talked about Halloween in all of my classes. Powerpoint presentations have a reputation for being a little boring, but my students did not seem to feel that way this week. By far, their favorite slide was one about candy. They tried to convince the director to let them celebrate Halloween at school. He reminded them that they'll get to dress up for Mardi Gras (which I cannot wait to see!), but the students suggested that they could celebrate Halloween by getting candy. Basically, they just wanted candy - standard international trait of all 8 year olds.

There are still some awkward moments while I'm teaching. Partly because I'm awkward. It happens. Occasionally. But, also, partly because it's odd to knock on the classroom door and walk in to start English. The teachers do have a schedule to let them know when I'll be there, and they are on top of things. Still, they do have to finish up whatever they are working on, and then transition into English time. Which is made more difficult by me standing in the classroom because for the children I'm new and distracting.

I work with 12 different teachers and 13 different classes, so we're all getting used to each other.  The teachers all have different ranges of English skills. Some of them stay up at the front, and I help alongside them for the lesson. Others assist while I do most of the activities and speaking. A few stay in the back of the classroom working on other things during the lesson. Thankfully, all of the teachers have been so helpful so far. I have a break between some of my lessons, and one of the teachers invited me to sit in during French literature time. Listening to the class begin to learn a poem was one of the highlights of my week. Another class wrote a newspaper (in French) which they told me about (Not during an English lesson, so they explained all of this to me in very slow French. I'd like to avoid speaking French with them, but some of them have only just begun learning English and only about an hour a week. Either I speak with them in French, or all we say to each other is hello, my name is... My solution is to tell them that I only understand a little French, so they very patiently explain everything with me while trying to use English when possible.), and the teacher gave me a copy to read. I use the word adorable too often to describe things, but it applies in this case as well.

What I am doing definitely takes a lot of energy, but since I work so few hours a week, I can't complain at all. I've been working about two weeks so far, and I now get two weeks off for the Toussaint holiday. Another thing that I am not complaining about. I'm looking forward to exploring the area around where I live in France. My goal is to do something or try something new every day. So, I'll be letting you know how that goes.

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