I had a kind of rough day teaching today. It wasn’t terrible and it was only a half day and to be honest, after recess was fine, it was just before recess that was frustrating. Teaching Intensive French this morning was like pulling teeth. My students had a really hard time focusing and I’d like to be able to blame it on the sugar, all the candy that they’re eating at home, or the time change that’s probably still affecting them, though they should be fine by now, or something. And it wasn’t just me who noticed something was off today. A lot of teachers were complaining today that their students were just off. Several of the more generally even keel teachers admitted to raising their voices.
I’m feeling frustrated with how my students are doing in French. I think I generally feel this way every year but I just feel like they aren’t where I’d like them to be. They’re still looking for translations of words rather than trying to figure out what I’m saying or asking them to do. They still aren’t really paying attention unless I switch to English and worst of all, they don’t seem to be enjoying it as much as I’d like and so I’m not enjoying it as much. But what can I do to make it more fun? We sing songs and play games and watch videos and they talk about themselves and we read books and look for sounds and do silly actions while we read the message of the day and I try to give them lots of body breaks. But many of the girls would rather colour or make fortune tellers and many of the boys would rather make airplanes or talk.
I have a core few students who always have their hands up and are super engaged. They want to answer all the questions and participate in every way possible. I have another group of students who are quiet but still watching and listening to everything. And then I have some that will participate when called upon but otherwise are just half present and then there are those who are actively avoiding work. And it’s not hard. It’s really really not.
I’ve been teaching the same grade and the same subject for six years now. I’ve seen classes who just love Intensive French, who get so excited at learning a new language, like it’s learning a secret code, and I’ve seen classes with many students who tell me their parents don’t want them learning French and that’s all there is to it and then teaching becomes a battle. This class is somewhere in between and I think the large size, the fact that there’s so much full class stuff is hard on them. And the extra sugar and perhaps less sleep isn’t helping either.