Thursday, 6 December 2012

English lessons in CP : How the bear lost his tail

Ever since Suzanne started école maternelle, I always imagined me having some sort of role in the classroom. But, it has proven to be more difficult than I expected. Working is one of the problems. But it's always because parents just aren't as active here as in the US. So my input has been minimal thus far, although I've managed to go into her class at least once a year to talk about something American or in English. My interest in going into her class is twofold. First, it's interesting for the kids to hear from people from other places. Second, if I'm in the class, Suzanne will be proud and maybe it won't be so "strange" for her to be bilingual. (and third, I don't want her to reject her American side...)

Suzanne is now in her first year of école primaire. At the beginning of this school year (Suzanne's in CP=1st grade), I once again offered my services as a Native English speaker....and got nothing back. Then about a month ago, the teacher called me (she left a message on my phone that I heard a week later. oops). Since then, we've played email tag with me sending long emails explaining what I'd like to do and her responding "ok". Not very constructive for me...

So the final guidelines I have are these:

  • 30 minutes
  • 6 lessons are scheduled between now and end of January
  • focus on culture and civilization
  • subjects they won't see  with their regular English teacher (ie vocab, etc).
So I did a lot of brainstorming about WHAT to talk to them about and came up with the following subjects :
  1. Native Americans
  2. American food (linked with immigration)
  3. American sports
  4. American holidays
  5. American school and games
  6. and I forget the 6th one for now...
Next, I had to think about HOW to talk to them. Since the teacher didn't specifically ask for only English and she clearly said (the only clear thing she said) was that I am not teaching them English, I decided on the following set-up for each lesson : 
  • Book (or story) in English: this will provide a subject for discussion
  • English voabulary: taken from thebook and the subject matter
  • song or dance: this will help them be interactive
  • food : where applicable (since I'm a foodie)
Today's lesson is on Native Americans. I'll try to provide an update tomorrow including description of the lesson, what worked and what didn't. The point is to provide a resource for other parents who may be doing similar activities in their kid's CP class.

To be honest, I'm terrified. I'm terrified of the kids but also of the teacher. She has shown no enthusiasm at all and has not been particularly helpful. At the same time, the fact that she actually asked me to come into class is a positive sign (I also had to sign some sort of official document for the rectorat ie the superintendant).

So today...How the Bear Lost His Tail...


Marta said...

Good luck! I wish my son had an American parent in his English class! How cool!

Reb said...

Thanks Marta. It went well. I wish every parent would come into class. I'm sure everyone has so much to contribute. But I know it's not possible.

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