I recently completed my last week working in my schools as part of the TAPIF program. It was bittersweet. I am excited to move on to grad school next year, but I was sad to say goodbye to my kids and fellow teachers. These past two years I have taught in the same three schools and have gotten to know people pretty well. Teaching young kids wasn’t always easy but I learned a lot about English and teaching. And the kids were oh-so-cute!
Here is the final chapter of my French kids say the darnedest things post!
*As in previous posts, dialogue in Italics was originally in French
It was funny because my students wore a lot of clothes with American or British flags on them and English words that I knew that they didn’t understand. Teachers told me that they wore them more often on days when I came in to teach because they wanted to show off their English cred.
One day a girl wore a pink sweatshirt that said America and Minnesota (my home state) on it. I was super excited, ‘Wow! You have been to Minnesota before?!?!‘ Apparently not-she looked at me like I was crazy.
One day with a more advanced student we drilled irregular past tense. So I said verbs and my student would quickly comeback at me with the answer, but the first things that came into his head weren’t always the right ones.
‘Go’ – ‘went’
So far so good, but then it turned into a word association game (what is the first word that comes in to you mind when you hear…)
‘Feed’ – ‘food’
‘Think’ – ‘thank’
‘Ride’ – ‘read’
‘Want’ – ‘went’
‘See’- ‘ya later!’
And then later we went over opposites and I asked, ‘What is the opposite of weak?’ ‘Weekend!’
After New Years I taught my classes how to say ‘Happy New Years!’ However, because the RS combo is hard for them it sounded a lot like ‘Happy New You!!!’, which was funny because then I could pretend that everyone had noticed the haircut I got over break:)
In some of my younger classes, we never got around to doing an official lesson on classroom instructions. However, some especially naughty six-year-olds picked up on important ones early because I was always reprimanding them in English. For example, they would often mimic me, ‘Be quiet!!’, and put fingers up to their lips. It could be annoying when I was trying to get the class to be quiet and I would have one or two parakeets repeating after me. I would have to stare them down and be like, ‘That means you too kid!’
Sometimes I think ‘Be quiet, sit down, listen!!’ is what will stick with them the longest after I am gone!
I played Simon Says a lot with the kids to work on classroom materials and instructions. After they understood the vocab pretty well I would choose kids to come up and give the instructions. They could either say Simon Says….. or try to trick their classmates by just saying the instructions.
One time a kid forgot to say ‘Simon Says’, and was really confused as to why nobody was carrying out the action. He was so distressed and confused that was cute. He really thought that no one understood him.
When I did lessons about food and likes and dislikes I used this awesome song.
It is quite silly because it introduces two different foods and then mixes them and asks if you like the disgusting combo. There were always a few silly kids in the class (usually boys) who liked to insist that they loved the disgusting combos like donut juice or popcorn pizza.
‘Do you like tomato pancakes?’
‘Yes I do!!’
One day with seven-year-olds we were working with the book Brown Bear and the kids were having trouble remembering the word ‘Duck’. The teacher tried to help them, ‘You guys know Donald Duck, right?’
The kids were confused. ‘Who? Donald Trump?‘
‘No the other Donald! You don’t know Donald Duck?’
In one class when we learned body parts I described a monster for them to draw.
‘The monster has a rectangular body, three legs, and six feet.’
The children were so confused. They all protested, ‘But he only has three legs!!!! It isn’t possible to have six feet!!‘
I was taken aback by their squareness. ‘Seriously kids, use your imagination- it’s a monster!!‘
This quote is from one of my adult students. We were talking about life expectancy and things that can shorten life expectancy, like obesity. I asked her, ‘Why do you think are some reasons that obesity rates are higher in rural areas than in urban ones?’ She said, ‘I think they eat more because they are bored’, I laughed and asked, ‘Really?’ She was dead serious, ‘Yeah, I mean, I eat when I am bored.’
One day with an eight-year-old class I went through and asked everyone questions on their favorite things. ‘What is your favorite number?’ What is your favorite food?’ ‘What is your favorite color?’ When I asked one kid, ‘What is your favorite animal?’ He replied excitedly, ‘My favorite animal is a hot dog!!’
On my last day of classes in the schools a lot of students gave me drawings. When one eight-year-old handed me his drawing he said proudly, ‘and it even has my address on the back!’ …okkk. The whole class laughed, this kid is a bit out in left field in general…
Here are some of my favorite drawings I have received.