“Good morning, Class. Are you ready?” I fidget in my miniature desk chair. Madame M hears the appropriate reply, in the affirmative, in English, and launches into song.
My name is Rejane, Rejane, Rejane,
My name is Rejane, and who are you?
I smile as the boy Madame points to tries to repeat the verse in its entirety. “Mmmmhhh,” he hums. But Madame interrupts him, saying sweetly, “just say your name.”
“Thomas,” he replies.
His name is Thomas, Thomas, Thomas,
His name is Thomas, and who are you? …
I scribble the verse down in my notes, adding in the margin the words, “For help memorizing ‘my name is.'”
Yesterday was my second and last day of “formation” before I begin assisting in my own classrooms on Monday. The other Cote d’Or primary assistants and I sat at the back of fabulous Madame M’s classes, taking notes and absorbing ideas. Sometime between breakfast and our Nespresso coffee break I realized that this year is going to be as much of a learning experience for me as it will be for the enfants I’ll teach.
Some assistants have teaching experience. Some majored in education. I have a new friend with a degree in teaching English as a second language. For me, however, this type of teaching will be completely new (I almost said foreign). I have never sung my name before a captive audience of dozens of children. I have never designed games that test specific linguistic competencies and ingrain certain verbal habits. I have never had to explain that “his” is different from “is” and the “h” must be pronounced strongly enough to make a tissue flutter when held in front of one’s mouth.
I have never before realized what hard work it is to be a good teacher.
Something tells me this won’t be the last time I confirm my discovery.