Thursday, December 13, 2007

It Warms My Heart

I don't write much about teaching in the Paris suburbs often on my blog even though that's the primary reason why I'm in France in the first place. I guess most of the time there isn't really much to blog about in terms of teaching despite the fact that both of my schools are considered ZEP (zones d'éducation prioritaires) schools which means that the schools are essentially in poorer neighborhoods, the students come from immigrant backgrounds and they have low academic achievements. Teaching hasn't been a walk in the park for me but overall it has been a pleasurable experience for me and I think about my students even when I'm not in classroom with them and I get sad when I realize that I won't be able to see a specific class for one reason or another.

Today in one of my classes we did a worksheet to determine who has been naughty and who has been nice since it's the holiday season. After answering a series of questions we computed the values for each student and I picked the two students that ranked highest on the kind-o-meter to give them a prize. I almost had a riot situation on my hands when the other students realized that only two of them would be getting treats but a crisis was adverted. From the bag of treats both students picked a pack of Orbit gum (I figured since I will be heading back home soon I could spare a pack or two that was included in my care package that almost never came). I insisted that the kids not open the gum while they were in school as I did not want them to get in trouble for chewing gum while in class but Alexandre refused to listen to me (or maybe he just didn't hear me or understand my English). Before I could reprimand him I noticed that he was actually sharing his pack of gum with his classmates. So instead of reprimanding him I acknowledged his generosity in front of the entire class.

And while they may not speak perfect English and while they may be labeled "difficult kids" I walked out of my classroom today smiling brightly on the inside and out.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I needed to hear that today. :)

Roam2Rome said...

That *is* sweet!

It's like 3:10 am, I'm still translating away, and your post made me smile... merci!

Penny said...

What a lovely post. I'm not an assistant but I do read a few blogs by other's and it seems it can be a really thankless job. I'm pleased to here that you're getting something wonderful out of it :)

Roam2Rome said...

Happy New Year Étrangère!!!

Following your journey to France has been very inspirational for me, and I wish you the best in 2008!

L'Étrangère Americaine said...

Hey Farfallina,
Happy New Year to you too. Thanks for reading my blog and for all of your insightful comments. Best of luck with your move to Rome 2008 should be a very exciting year for you indeed.

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