I still really enjoy being an assistant. I love teaching and I love my French kids. Kids, some of whom are older than me. But that’s besides the point.
Have all my lessons be successful? Um, no. I don’t think that would be normal. It’s hard enough for a regular teacher to always have successful lessons and it’s almost impossible to get a concrete idea of your students’ level when you see them every other week.
What have my most successful lessons been so far?
My lessons on fast fashion, fair trade fashion, and Fair Tuesday with my BTS fashion students went really well. Time spent drooling over Mata Trader products and perusing their blog was not time wasted. Score! We still talk about fair trade fashion and Fair Tuesday in our one-on-one discussion groups. Fair Tuesday is a somewhat complicated subject which pushes their zone of proximal development, but with guidance and lots of examples, most of the students are able to explain the purpose of Fair Tuesday by the end of their session with minimal recourse to French.
For two classes, I had my students pretend we were stuck on a desert island. I had a boat, but could only take half the class with me. They had 15 minutes to prepare to convince me that I should save them. With one class, it was a huge success. They had a blast and made up wonderful stories and fought (in a good way) about who should get on the boat. It really got them talking! With another, it was a huge flop. Why? I misjudged the level of the second class and they didn’t have the vocabulary they needed for the creativity required. They needed something more structured. Shout out to Marine who gave me the idea based on an activity one of her English assistants did when she was in high school!
For some reason, British Asians is a part of the English curriculum for some of my students. Random? Perhaps. They’d talked about arranged marriages in class, but in a negative way. I wanted to challenge their traditionally western thinking about arranged marriages and gave them several examples to respond to. Shout out to Samir and Veronika and our Thai Classic IV discussion about arranged marriages! The students got really into it. We ended on a light note by them showing me a singer they all found very attractive, M. Pokora. I do not see the attractiveness. They made me give them an example of an actor I found attractive, so I said Romain Duris. Their response: “O, well, that makes sense. He’s more your age.” Excuse me! I am only maybe five or six years older than you? I was amused.
For the students learning about American history, I used “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel as an ice breaker. I put a list of some of the historical events he mentions in order and inserted some he didn’t say. The students had to cross off the ones he didn’t mention. As someone who went to college located on the battlefields of Gettysburg, I just had to give a presentation of this battle, especially as it was one the events they have to know. I used pictures of my friends and I on the battlefields and that got their attention. The students like it when you let them into your life a little, and you can do that in a professional way without going too far. After the presentation, I gave them sentence scramble cards they had to assemble working with a partner. The sentences were in the passive voice, which they are learning right now. The lesson worked quite well! The most difficult part was the song, because Billy Joel does sing rather fast. Since the events were in order, it helped and they did successfully accomplish the task.
These are probably my best lessons so far. They’re also all lessons I developed. With most teachers, I don’t always get to choose what I do with the students. Sometimes the teachers will tell me what they’d like for me to do when I arrive. Which is fine. But I do like to make my own lessons.
What have been your biggest lesson successes?