i'm starting to feel like i'm getting into a routine teaching. figuring out what each professor expects from me and getting to know the students, even though i see each student at most twice a week. slowly but surely i'm figuring all of this out. and they're getting used to my accent (most of their professors have british accents in english) and realizing that i absolutely do not care if you make a mistake as long as you try.
my sister and i were talking the other day about how when you're a student, you don't really think about how what you do or don't do affects your teacher. but now i know how a 55-minute long class period can feel 5 hours long when nobody wants to participate, how frustrating it can be to try to figure out if a blank stare means boredom or lack of comprehension when you can't even get an answer to "do you understand?".
i'm speaking more slowly than i ever thought i could. i'm figuring out 5 different ways to say the same sentence in hopes that one of them will stick. i'm learning patience.
this all can be tiring, but proved to be absolutely worth it when my student who really struggles with english understood the fifth version of a sentence and beamed and shouted "je comprends l'anglais!" (i understand english!) it would have been easier to have just explained in french and i understand that in large groups it's not always possible to take the time to do that. but with small groups i get to take the time and without that, we both would have missed that incredibly encouraging moment.
on my birthday one class brought me in a cake with candles, chocolates, and coca-cola and threw me a little surprise birthday party at the end of class. i was so touched, i almost cried. i definitely never considered in high school that my actions would have been able make a teacher cry, for good or for bad. granted, i'm a pretty emotional person and my situation here exacerbates that, but i think the point still stands.
at this point i know that monday morning from 9-9:55 a.m. is going to be difficult. but i also know there will be enough moments of my kids getting excited about language and trying hard to understand and speak to outweigh the other moments. even when all they want to tell me is that eva longoria and tony parker broke up, if it makes them want to speak english, i'm all ears.