Taking time to reflect

I haven’t posted since August! Goodness! Between the new schedule, sister school suspension, French NHS and Club, comments, grading, and lesson planning, I feel like I haven’t been using my time as wisely as I could, but regardless, I’m learning and improving:)

Right now, I’m concerned about my classes, not covering as much material as I would like and not hearing my students speaking in French as much as I have in the past. Is this a result of moving too quickly? Not making spoken exercises a priority? Probably both. Additionally, this is my first year with this particular junior class and I sometimes find myself speaking in English to tell them more complicated stories about my life in an effort to connect with them. While they might listen a bit more when I speak in English, I know that I’m doing them a disservice and I ended last week with a commitment to myself to speak as much in the target language, slowly, as possible! That’s goal number one for the rest of the school year. Do you speak exclusively in the target language with your students? What helps you (and them) stay true to the lesson at hand?

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I skipped school yesterday for my daughter’s birthday and was quite grateful for the prep work I had done over the summer for my AP class. While I had my marvelous former colleague, Gérard, available to teach my classes, I still needed an entertaining read for my AP kids, enter 7 ans après. I read this novel over the summer and the first two chapters fit nicely into the science and technology, family and community themes, hooray! I missed being able to discuss it with my students myself, but I know Gérard did a marvelous job and my students really love working with him, even my juniors. It is my second goal to keep working on new lessons for each of my classes; they all deserve the best I can do! How often do you try new ideas with your students?

I asked my students what it is that they love about Monsieur, and one AP student mentioned speaking in French right away, being expected to converse as soon as she walks in the room. That’s something I can do! When my students come to class tomorrow, my third goal is to ask questions until every student has had a chance to share something about the current material, life in general, or whatever I can think of to question. Who spends more time talking in your classroom: your students or you?

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After that, my fourth goal is to reevaluate my tests. I have two coming up in the next weeks and my department chair talks at length about 9 or 10 question tests. Could I do that? Could I test everything that I want in just a few questions? I hope to find some time in the near future to think about my testing practices and how I might be able to streamline the process and, perhaps, reduce student stress while focusing more clearly on their proficiency goals. My department chair gave us a book in August called On Your Mark that I will start reading as soon as I post. What sort of books do you like to read to inspire your teaching practices? Please share!

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