"When good Americans die, they go to Paris" - Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day one: Observation

Alright, so I'm finally getting around to blogging again.

I walked into the school, a little nervous and apprehensive. Though I was only observing classes today, there still seemed to be a lot of things that could go wrong. After all, today was the day I'd be making a first impression on the school staff and the students I'd be teaching. The principal, who I was lucky enough to have met the day before, greeted me wearing the exact same outfit as the day before - jeans, a denim shirt, and worn-out black boots. This made me feel a little better about skipping my morning shower so I could sleep in an extra thirty minutes. Which makes a better first impression: a shower or getting enough sleep?

La directrice first brought me into the staff room. Only one CM2 (i.e. 5th grade) teacher was there at the moment so his was the class I'd be observing first. As I was a little nervous about meeting the teachers I'd be working with I forgot to pay attention to his name when she introduced us. Monsieur I-catch-his -name explained to me that though he was technically supposed to have started teaching English, he hasn't yet because there were more important things to be taught beforehand. This school is next to l'HLM, the public housing projects, so many students come from lower-income families who've recently immigrated to France. Consequently, teaching English is low on the priority list as many students are still struggling with their written French. He told me all of his students are really nice and I have to agree that the kids seem pretty amazing so far. Plus, they are very enthusiastic about learning English which should make my job a whole lot easier.

After recess, I met another CM2 teacher, Agnès. Apparently word had gotten around to the students about who I was because as the students lined up to enter the building a girl came up to me and introduced herself: "Hello. My name is Maude." It was absolutely adorable. Once class started Agnès had the students all go around and introduce themselves in English. Just a simple "My name is . . ." but I was still impressed. Maude trumped them all by adding a "Hello" to her introduction again. :) As the students took a test, Agnès asked me if I could help with the Halloween party they'd like to organize this year. I said "Oui, bien sûr." Hopefully I won't regret this, but a Halloween party with all my CM2 students sounds fun and a good way to get to know the teachers better.

My last CM2 class was just as great as the rest. As the teacher introduced me, some of the students made "pick me" gestures. The teacher explained to them that they will all get to be in my class. Little kid enthusiasm is amazing and since my classes with them only last 20 minutes and will mostly consist of playing games, I'm hoping this enthusiasm will last the entire year. But before I get too excited about teaching and how wonderful and welcoming the staff is, I should wait to see what awaits me at my other two schools . . . .