I recently found out that as an English Teaching Assistant, I’ll be working a 7-month contract at the high school and/or middle school level. Although I think that I had originally preferenced elementary schools first on my application, it was a relief to get this contract. I think it will be much less exhausting to deal with rebellious, moody teenagers than a room full of 20 toddlers.
I’ve had previous experience with teens. For example, I have a younger brother named Grant who is now 17 years old. (Oh my goodness gracious, he will be a senior in high school next year. Sad sister moment.) I would be overjoyed to have 20 students in a class who are similar to him, but when you mix in those crazy friends of his… then I get a little scared.
The only French students that I got to know during my time abroad were all, of course, university students. They were crazy, opinionated, and oh-so-much fun. What little glimpse I had of French teenagers makes me believe that they are just as crazy and just as opinionated. My best guess is that they will appreciate to some extent having an American teaching assistant in their English class. When I asked my brother’s friend Matt (pictured above), who is currently taking French as a junior in high school, how he would feel if there was a French teaching assistant in his class, he responded –
“That would be amazing. It would be very nice to have someone that speaks fluently in the classroom. Having a person other than the teacher to practice with sounds like a beautiful idea. We would be able to sonsult with them about any grammatical errors we may have made, and they could correct pronunciation issues that we always have. I personally would enjoy hearing an accent that is actually french.”
Then again, Matt is a very enthusiastic student. Every time that I see him, he has learned a new French phrase and he seems honestly eager to practice the language. What about those kids that just don’t give a damn?
Hopefully since most students in high school in France have been learning English since they were young, I will be able to inspire them and renew their interest in the language by teaching them useful phrases, bringing a new perspective into the classroom, and sharing my culture with them.