I went into school on Friday in disbelief as I couldn’t believe that I had nearly been in France for two weeks. I was very happy to find out that my teacher Amélie had spoken to various teachers throughout the school about me going into their classrooms to teach English to different years. I had expressed my concern earlier in the week regarding my lack of involvement in lessons thus far. I was greeted on Friday with a timetable for the coming weeks. I found out that I will be teaching in all three of the CP classes as well as CM1 and CM2. I feltso relieved as I was beginning to worry that my lack of involvement would result in an unsuccessful placement. From observing I have learned a lot about the French Education system, school structure and how French classroom differ from Scotland. However, it is important that I also have to opportunity to teacher as much as possible during the six-week period.
I have spent the last two weeks with the CM2 class, so it will be very interesting next week seeing how the youngest class in the school differ from the oldest. I will hav
e to simplify my teaching strategies as well as teach using songs and games. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to broaden my horizons and get a feel for the different stages of the French primary school. Finding out about my full timetable for the coming weeks put me in a great mood for the rest of the day I was able to think about all of the various lessons I could do with the various years as well as begin individual lesson planning. I believe that I will feel more like a member of the school once I get to know the other teachers and pupils and I am a recognisable face within the school.
I began planning different lessons for the CM2 class relating to the topic ‘going shopping’. The teacher provided me with ideas for lessons as well as worksheets and flashcards. She has also very keen to listen to my ideas so that we could work together to ensure the children will get the most out of the topic. I don’t feel nervous or anxious about beginning teaching as I have gotten to know the children and teacher so well. I am very enthusiastic about making lessons as interactive as possible as I have a very energetic class. I believe they would thrive learning through both role play and group work. I believe that if the lesson is enjoyable the children will be more enthusiastic about the subject they are learning. One of my main goals for placement is to ensure the children enjoy learning English and improve their skill at the same time.
By the time it got to Friday I was ready for the week to end and week 3 to begin. Although observation has taught me a lot it has become very tedious merely sitting at the back of the classroom and observing lessons. The days are very long and feel as though they drag when I don’t have any input in the lessons. Also, my lack of French makes it very difficult as some of the time I am unaware of what the children are doing during lessons as I can’t understand the language. Because I have had so much time with nothing to do I am very excited about getting stuck into next week.
Friday has been a successful planning day. Before lunch I started to come up with different ideas regarding English lessons for CM2. The topic of ‘going shopping’ is one that offers opportunity for use of flashcards as well as games. I believe this is the best way for the children to learn new vocabulary. It is easier to retain information if it is done in a way which is exciting for the learner. I believe this is something we could adopt in Scotland. Children in France learn a foreign language through speaking and listening, however in Scotland it is done through reading and writing. Speaking and listening is the most important aspect of a language which I have realised during my first two weeks in France. I would not be able to understand what a French person was saying, however, if they wrote it down for me I would find it much easier. This is an issue within the Scottish curriculum as reading and writing skills do not help with conversational French.
In the afternoon the classes swapped, and I sat in on a CM1 English class. It was interesting to see how the slightly younger class engaged with English and also gave me an idea of their level before I go into their class on Monday. They were very excited to find out that I would be teaching them on Monday continuing the topic of clothes. I found that this class respond very well to games and understand the vocabulary more when it is put in the context of a game rather than a worksheet. There are a few members of the class that are very competent with the language and there are others that don’t have great basic skills. This means that I may have to differentiate when teaching on Monday. I must ensure that all of the children are working at the level that they feel comfortable with. Observing this lesson made e very excited about getting to teach this class on Monday. I hope that they engage with the lesson I plan as much as they did today, building on their previous vocabulary.
I am looking forward to my third week in the school as I have a timetable of all the different classes and lessons I will be involved in. I am very happy to have the opportunity to move throughout the school helping at different stages. I believe that teaching my first solo lesson on Monday will be challenging but also very rewarding. Teaching English as a foreign language is not something I am used to, therefore, observing other teachers has been very helpful in preparing me for the weeks to come.