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Friday, September 27, 2013

The teacher in me

macati, Flickr

The teacher in me is very happy these days.

Teaching, for me, is just like traveling, running or owning a dog. I need it my life. If, for one reason or another, I don't have it in my life for a while, I eventually forget how much I enjoy it. When I put it back into my life, one of my first observations is "I can't believe I've been living without this for so long!"

Yes, teaching is such a passion for me.

I am not saying teaching is an easy job. There are daily challenges of all sorts. Ask any teacher. That could make up a whole entire discussion. Nonetheless, when I teach I feel like a fish in the ocean. I don't know why. I don't know how. I just do.

My new teaching responsibilities are different than any other I have had in the past. I have taught French before. But not to groups of kids. I have taught groups of kids before. But not French. So yes, I'm slightly out of my comfort zone. Still. I love it.

Classroom management and actual teaching are full of complexities that probably take a whole lifetime to master. But at the end of the day, as one of my kids' previous preschool teacher once said, the connection with the children is half of my pay.

A new colleague of mine has the following saying on her classroom wall: "To teach is to touch a life forever". How true.

I remember telling a previous boss something along those lines too: "I love planning, prepping, implementing, assessing, evaluating, correcting, name it. I love seeing my students learn, gain confidence, make progress. But above all things, I love the children".

And I meant it.

I still do.

I never forget (or, not for very long) that each of my student is a unique individual with his/her own strengths, some real need (and the right) to flourish, and the potential to contribute something to fellow human beings. I want to respect and support that.

Despite their different backgrounds, all children have value as a person, and they all deserve to be told that.

I cannot personally relate to all students. I cannot pretend I deeply understand them all. As much as I read about the different types of learners and what not, I have to constantly remind myself that I was just one specific kind of student, and that not all function like I did. There are so many types of students (as many as there are students, one could argue). Most groups are, as one of my new colleagues put it, "an eclectic bunch". But I do try to figure out and recognize where each of my students is coming from. I strive to reach out to each of them. Already, some of my students who seemed reserved or skeptical about French at first are opening up. I cannot describe the feeling I get when I win a kid over about the value of learning French.

Other rewards include:

  • The little ones running to me for a hug as soon as I walk into their classroom. 
  • The group waving at me with huge smiles on their faces, calling excitedly "Bonjour, Madame J!" as I walk by in the school hallway or on the playground. 
  • The cute little voices enthusiastically singing the songs without being prompted. 
  • The student saying "I love that game. Can we play it more often?". 
  • The kids exclaiming "Yay!" as I walk in the room, and "Booh!" as I announce it's time for me to leave.
  • The students spontaneously offering more than what I was expecting.

All that while learning more French than they're even aware of.

How could you not love teaching?

What do you love about your job in general, or teaching or children in particular?

Have you found yourself in spontaneous teaching situations even if you're not a teacher?

Speaking of transmitting what you know and watching children bloom, how cute is this?
That kid is musically talented for her age, that's obvious if you listen until the end.
Takes after her daddy for sure.


  1. Reading this sort-of made me miss my teaching days. I taught middle school science (before kids). I loved the teaching part (and probably still would) however, all of the paperwork and "admin" stuff (which has gotten 20x worse) I do not miss!!!
    Glad you are enjoying your teaching so much!!!

    1. I didn't know you had been a teacher, Kim! Makes you even more interesting! :-)

  2. I want to send my girls for a French immersion course with you!!

    1. I would love that Nicole! :-) Children are such sponges, you'd be amazed at how fast they learn.

  3. Quand on y est à sa place, l'enseignement est le plus beau métier du monde (être jardinier doit être pas mal non plus!). Avoir entre ses mains l'énergie de la jeunesse, ouvrir la conscience, décupler le potentiel, partager... et surtout, surtout, aimer!!! Travailler avec de la matière humaine, curieuse et riche, parfois trouble, parfois complexe, mais toujours vivante. Découvrir cette vie, l'ouvrir, l'aider à se déployer... Quel grand bonheur, toujours renouvelé et imprévisible, d'être dans sa classe! (Coudonc, on doit avoir les mêmes gènes!!!)