On this day I spent the morning in a local middle school. This was very different from what I had been used to in the primary school. One of the English teachers in the school was going to be spending time in Dundee teaching and therefore, wanted students from Dundee to come into school and speak to her class. Myself and Beth went together and were prepared to tell the students about Scotland.
This was more daunting than going into a primary environment as the children were a lot older. I have never had any experience with high school age children, so it was very interesting seeing the differences between primary and secondary. Going into the school made me realise why I chose to become a primary teacher. It was very nerve racking and intimidating teaching children that were not much younger than myself. Despite this, I still enjoyed my experience in the French middle school.
The children were learning about Shakespeare and their lesson for the day was to read about his life and put various events into a timeline structure. Myself and Beth had to walk around the classroom and help. The students were reluctant to ask for help in the beginning as they were not confident using their English to ask us questions, however, as the lesson progressed they became more comfortable. This allowed me to think about how I would have felt in school if a French student came into my class and I was required to speak in their language. It would have been very daunting. Therefore, I tried my best to make the students feel at ease as I know how I would have felt if I was put in the same situation. Despite not having strong English, the students were able to complete the task successfully. I believe that this was done through the timeline aspect of the task. They were able to search for the dates in the passage and match the information to the date. At the end of the task myself and Beth stood at the front of the classroom and went over the correct answers, ensuring that we spoke slowly and clearly at all times.
At the end of the lesson we had the opportunity to talk to the children about Scotland and the various traditions we have. We discussed our university and showed pictures of the various buildings we study in before moving on to topics such as Edinburgh and listening to the Scottish national anthem. The students were all very interested in what we had to say and were enthusiastic about having us in their classroom. By the end of our morning in the school I felt a lot more relaxed around the older students. I think that as the lesson went on I realised that the pupils were not as intimidating as I had originally thought.
My experience of assisting in a French middle school was very positive. Although this was a successful visit, I still believe that I prefer working with primary school children. I was very grateful for the opportunity to see how education in France progresses beyond primary school and have the chance to assist in English.