Tomorrow I’ll start a new teaching schedule. Instead of working 3 days a week, I’ll work 4 – Tuesday through Friday. In my old schedule I worked Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, but that changed a lot because apparently Tuesday and Thursday are grève days, or “it’s okay to strike” days. For that reason, or else sick teachers or tests, or whatever you can think of, my schedule was rather unpredictable for having set classes. I hope this time around it’ll be more consistent.
So the high school, or lycée, where I teach is broken into 3 grades: secondes (seconds), premières (firsts), and terminales (terminal/seniors). (In France the grades are counted down – so backwards in relation to American schools.) When you are a seconde you are have a general sort of curriculum, but when you are première or terminale you will be in a more specific curriculum based on your “class.”
It took a while for me to understand this context for the word “classe” because I didn’t realize it referred to the academic program and not the specific subject. Not to mention the classes are all referred to by acronyms and numbers, like 1 ES 1 (première, economie sociale, group 1) or T STG 2 (terminale, science technologie gestion, group 2), etc.
Personally I’ve had a wide range of different classes, from “STI” and “STG” (technology and business subjects) to “L” (litterature focus) and “ES”. In my new schedule I’ll have “S” (science).
So far I’ve found the STI to be the most challenging, with the STG close behind. The STI class that I had was the class of all boys that I mentioned in the previous post: “What a Day”.
I really enjoy(ed) working with the L and ES classes, who seemed to be interested and receptive to my lessons. There were also a few students who really spoke well, including some that did exchanges in Scotland and California.
It’s always a surprise with the secondes, though. Each class is quite different. They are all about 14 years old, so the age doesn’t help. I find that their levels of English range quite a bit, in spite of the fact that they’ve all taken English at least since middle school (collège).
It’s true that towards the end of this schedule I had become rather frustrated, but I’m going to use what I’ve learned so far to help with my new classes and those that I’ll continue. I’m going to try even harder to make English real for them and get them interested.
Any ideas, feel free to comment.