Teaching Reflection: Week 3

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  1. Questioning the binary: You tell kids there are more than 2 genders and they won’t freak out. Like they really don’t care.
  2. Developing cultural identity: Kids don’t implicitly know how unique their experiences are. That their culture(s) is (are) special and unique and important.
  3. Reaffirming cultural identity: Recognizing the cultures that students come from is invaluable. Taking a neutral stance reinforces norms that say you have to have certain experiences to matter. I had a Guatemalan student who said she took French cause she didn’t want to learn Spanish bring in her Guatemalan doll and show it to the class. I had 2 Mexican students who barely engage in class light up when I showed them how to say Mexico in French. When I compared French and Spanish and asked for my Spanish speakers to help me, they lit up.
  4. Differentiated learning: I’m still trying to figure out how to balance the needs of my talkative, kinesthetic students with my quieter students. The former take up so much space and energy, and I forget about the ones who need silence to understand. But today, my eighth graders were jumping at the chance to say the date in French while others were excited about being able to write down what they said.

Teaching Reflection: Week 2

Finished my first full week of teaching middle school French and I’m exhausted but so elated.

Injecting critical pedagogy into a curriculum is hard. The county curriculum isn’t openly anti-critical, but upholds the status quo that accepts French as an esteemed language to be learned without questioning why so many people speak it outside of Europe.

My students barely know their continents, let alone the nations of Africa, Oceania, Asia, and the Americas that have been colonized by the French. And I was initially frustrated with myself for feeling like I wasn’t making them think critically right away, and that we couldn’t discuss colonization right away. But teaching is all about patience. And at the end of Week 2, I’ve gotten some results that I’m going in the right direction. Continue reading