As I wrapped up my classes with the kiddos over the last few weeks, I realized just how precious they’ve become to me.
They’ve made so much progress over the year and can mostly all tell me how many stars are on the American flag.
We’ve listened to Beyoncé and played a lot of rounds of Friday pictionary.
As I played American trivia using an old Brainquest I found in a box titled “English”, they proudly shouted “Barack Obama” as the answer to every question and I rolled my eyes and handed out bookmarks that say “Reading is cool!” to the ones who managed a correct answer.
Maybe the best thing over the past two weeks have been middle schooler presents. Oh my word. Last Monday, I was walking down the hall when I heard “Kaitliiiiiiin !” A sweet sixième shoved a mug wrapped in foil in my hands and said “J’ai fait un gâteau pour vous !” She painted the handle purple and made a delicious mug cake! How cool is that? (and it didn’t kill me which is another huge plus!)
Another little one handed me a homemade American flag that she made from a paper towel roll and a t-shirt while another made me a charm bracelet. I really love them.
One of my favorite gifts was from a little girl who proudly handed me a homemade card. After eight months of talking about America, she had carefully put 4 British flags on it. They kill me.
Consistently throughout my last week, they’d say to meet, “You are going to miss us, Kaitlin!” Each time, I would grin and gently remind them that the construction of “to miss” is different than French. In French, to say “I miss you” you say “tu me manques” (or literally you are missing to me). So to tell me that they’d miss me, I in term was informed that I would miss them. Which was equally true.
The English teachers organized a dinner party to say goodbye to me and all 8 of the teachers that I worked with (in both schools) were able to make it. We talked about school and made jokes that only people who speak both French and English would understand. They spoiled me rotten with gifts including a book about the region, a favorite French film, and chocolates made in Bourg. But my favorite gifts were the things that the students made for me! One teacher had every student make a card for me and she turned them all into a scrapbook. Another had her students write stories during a fairytale unit where I was the main character. How thoughtful is that?! The teachers also noticed that my computer case was falling apart and gave me a brand new one! I was so moved by their kindness.
This year has been one of growth and a whole lot of trial-and-error. I am so grateful to have had such a positive experience with my coworkers and students. I know many assistants who felt under-utilized and sometimes unwanted and I am thankful to have felt so appreciated and utilized. The English teachers I worked with were passionate and humble. They’d often send me assignments or texts to proof-read before assigning them to students or have me record passages for oral exams.
While I’m still completely divided on whether I’ll pursue a future in education or not, I am so thankful for this year of learning. And over the next few weeks, I’m traveling a bunch and celebrating the end of the school year before I start life as an au pair!