This last week, much to my delight, I returned to work! And, to my even greater delight, I started taking an even more active part in the lessons.
On both Thursday and Friday, for each class, the teachers at my school handed off half of their students to me. With these 15 or so students at a time, I set off for the language lab, sometimes having received very specific lesson instructions, sometimes with slightly vaguer directions.
For most of these hour-long classes, the students interviewed me, the younger, lower-level kids asking more simple questions, such as my name, where I’m from, etc., whereas the older ones asked me a variety of more complex questions, about my likes, dislikes, friends, etc. A lot of the higher-level students were also interested in my, and Americans’, opinions about France and French culture in general, which allowed for a few really interesting class discussions, where we talked about stereotypes in both France and America.
In a couple of the beginning courses, due to their slightly more limited English vocabulary, the students ran out of questions for me before the end of class. I was able to use this extra time to get them to talk a bit more, having them introduce themselves and talk a bit about something that they really liked. Unsurprisingly, this was a fairly short exercise, and I was still left with additional time. The first time this happened, I became a bit nervous, racking my brain for ways to stall until the bell rang, as the students sat, watching me attentively.
And then it hit me, this extra time is when we get to do all the fun, silly stuff. I ended up teaching two different classes the Hokey Pokey (a great game for reviewing body parts and right versus left vocab), which the majority of the students thought was hysterical.
Apparently, the language lab windows are directly across from the security director’s office, as later in the day when he saw me in the teacher’s lounge, he laughed, and said something in French to another professor about the “dancing English assistant.” I attempted to explain the Hokey Pokey to him and the other completely confused profs, but was eventually obligated to act it out. I have now danced and sang in front of my peers. I’m sure they take me very seriously.
This next week, I’ll be working two days at my first school, and one full day at my second school. Pretty stoked, pretty stoked.