So this is how it feels to be a teacher

It’s just after 7 p.m. I’m curled up in bed in my cozy Whitman sweatshirt. My feet ache from scurrying over cobblestones and standing in front of a sea of eager faces, and my throat is raw from overuse.

So this is how it feels to be a teacher.

Since 8:30 a.m. I’ve taught six separate English lessons and walked all over Auch getting to and from my three schools. (I also managed to test out a permanent marker on one of the white boards, but succeeded in scrubbing it off with a wet rag before anyone else got into the classroom.)

Of my six lessons, I’d say four were quite successful while the other two were mediocre. Not bad for my first time in charge of a classroom—especially considering that I was mostly operating in a foreign language.

It helped that I decided to prepare the same thematic lesson (to varying degrees of complexity) for the two grade levels I had today: comment se présenter (how to introduce yourself).

In each class we spent a good amount of time practicing the questions, “What is your name?” and “How old are you?” and giving their accompanying responses.

By and large, the biggest challenge was pronunciation. In French, words necessarily blend into one another, giving the language a very melodic quality, so it was quite the switch for my students when I told them they had to enunciate and say each word separately, taking care to pronounce consonants: “HOW.OLD.ARE.YOU?” not “OWOLERYOO?”

At the end of each lesson, I let the children ask me questions about myself (in French). Here are my favorites, translated into English for you, my anglophone readership:

“Why are you in France?”

“Do you eat hamburgers every day?”

“Do you know Lady Gaga?”

“Cara, let me show you my American backpack!” *lifts up backpack covered with the Union Jack*

“If you give me your phone number, I’ll look you up when I visit America!”

And as my last class of students collected their cahiers and trousses (pencil cases), one little girl came up to me and said, “Cara, j’adore l’anglais!

I left Saint Exupery exhausted but with a smile on my face.

So this is how it feels to be a teacher.

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5 comments

  1. Ashley · · Reply

    This is my favourite: “OWOLERYOO?”

  2. Aww, how cute – I love the questions from the French students! Also: “owoleryoo!”

    Congratulations on a successful first day of teaching!

  3. Yes, EXACTLY what it feels like to be a teacher. Tough work, but the little moments totallyyy make it! And for future reference: next time you write on a white board with permanent marker, go over it with a dry erase marker, let it dry a few seconds – wipes RIGHT off. 😉

  4. Linda Fredricks · · Reply

    I’d say your first foray into teaching was a smashing success!! And you will love it more and more. What a great experience for you AND your students!! Keep blogging…we love it!

  5. wanderlustinfreiburg · · Reply

    “Let me show you my American backpack!” Oh my goodness. I really enjoy reading your blog, and I’m excited to see you and Tricia soon.

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