Friday, October 17, 2008

Why sometimes I love teaching

My first class sped by so quickly that I was shocked when I looked at the clock and realized it was time to go. "Oh, zut!" I said. "I had another activity I wanted to do, but we don't have enough time. Oh well, next time then."

"But, it's recess now," one of the students said. "So we could stay longer...?"

"But, really?" I said. "You want to stay?" Affirmations came from all around. "Really?" I said, a bit incredulously. "All of you?" Twelve bottoms remained firmly planted in their seats; I don't think I could have made them leave if I had tried. And in an event previously unheard of in the world of education, at least to me, twelve middle school students passed up their recess in favor of staying in class and practicing their English.
Later that afternoon I had my third of four classes of the day. The thrill was wearing off, and I was getting tired. I was ready to go home, and still had one more class to get through, somehow. "Thank you," the students sang as they filed out at the end of class.

"You're welcome," I said, trying to sound more energetic than I felt.

"Thank you," a redheaded girl said.

"You're welcome," I replied automatically.

"No, thank you," she repeated with intensity. Her face registered a mixture of gratitude, desperation, and relief all at once, as she tried to signal to me with her eyes what she couldn't find the words for in English. "That's the first time I've ever enjoyed an English class," she muttered to herself in French as she turned away.

All due to my superior pedagogical talents and natural charisma, I'm sure, and not at all to the fact that the bulk of my lesson plan was based around M&Ms. You see, when it comes to middle school students, I don't take any chances. And after all, I always say, If you can't beat 'em, bribe 'em.


  1. It is amazing what candy can do to improve the mood of students. I regularly use that technique with adults at work. (Shh... They think my lectures are popular b/c I know what I'm talking about.) But still... Middle schoolers? You are a rockstar.

    I love the new blog design.

  2. Thanks! I'm pretty happy with it myself. And if I had known how easy it was, I would have done it long ago.

  3. Awww. Yay! That's so sweet. You're going to be one of those teachers they remember and think fondly of as adults. That's so wonderful.

  4. Bravo, félicitations!
    The thing is that foreign language classes are so boring in France. We study literature, grammar, vocabulary etc., but when faced with a native speaker it seems impossibe to put up a correct sentence!

    BTW, middle school is what we call collège in French right? What class are your students in?

  5. I'm in a lycée and a collège. In the collège I teach in 3eme and 4eme, and for the most part, as I tried to show, the kids are pretty darn cute.

  6. Well, those kids are very lucky to have an Assistante d'anglais, I wish my kids had one!

  7. Wee! I remember when...

    Well, lets not go there. But I'm so glad that you're in your element- teaching in France.

  8. awesome! and yummy...i think all lesson plans should have some form of m&ms included...

  9. Rach, that's awesome! Congratulations!