Friday, March 24, 2006

Today was the first day of a new kiddie class. I love les tout petits, even if I think they are waaaaaaaay harder than an adult class. It's not really that they are harder, it's that it takes more energy and there's always something new that happens that requires creative solutions. I thought this was going to be a group of 4 year olds but there were several that were obviously 3. Very, very cute. Right off the bat one of the kids asked me if they had the right to run around and I said, Definitely NOT! Apparently last time that's all they did, so I thought I'd nip that problem in the bud. The kid was cool with my answer, and I thought it was hilarious that she would even ask. I guess it doesn't hurt to try to see what the new teacher will let you get away with.

My goals for the first day were to get to know the kids, to figure out what they've learned so far (it seemed to be just 'hello' ... I guess it's a start), to get them into a routine, and to revise colors and numbers. 3 of them were accomplished and I changed the last one since it's difficult to review something they didn't appear to have ever learned. There are several pairs of siblings in the same class, which is a first for me, so next time I will need to establish boundaries of who is allowed to tell other people what to do. Usually there are one or two super-responsible, highly-organized older sibling type personalities, and I'm able to use them to my advantage. It's very handy to have those kids in my class, although I've never had their younger sister or brother at the same time. Today, however, it was clear that the younger siblings did NOT appreciate the older kids' good intentions. So...there will be only two 'bosses' allowed in this class: me, and my trusty sidekick "Mr. Banana." I don't care if they are related by blood, no one is allowed to 'boss' other people as it resulted in tears several times and distracted the entire class from our focus. Next week I'm going to figure out how to present that nicely but clearly in French -- they understood well enough this time, but I want it to be crystal clear. I'm going to start choosing a special helper, so that way I hope they'll be able to feel that they've got responsibilities without the bossing/tattletelling.

The 'new and different' situation that arose today was actually not that much of a new and different situation. My bosses are very good at telling parents to make sure their kids go to the bathroom before class so I don't have to interrupt the lesson to take care of evacuatory needs. I didn't know this at the time, but this was the first class for one of the girls and right smack dab in the middle I noticed she had a red face and was starting to cry. I asked, and yep, it really was an emergency. Now, I'm at a community center for the first time, there aren't many people there, and all of the doors are locked except for the room we're in. I lined them up to take them to the larger hall (which was unlocked when I arrived), but it was now locked...I've had problems with that lately. I really need to learn that credit card trick. Anyway, there was a button marked "sonnez" so I pushed it, and thereupon a nice woman magically appeared, came and unlocked the bathroom. The problem was solved easily enough, but it interrupted the flow of the class. Next time will be better, because I'm going to make sure everyone goes pipi before they sit down at the table. At the end one of the parents told me there was a key in the closet, but my crystal ball wasn't working and time seemed to be of the essence. I definitely wasn't going to root through the storage closet looking for a hypothetical key while the girl weed her britches. Despite the interruption we managed to cover the basic colors pretty thoroughly...the older ones could name most of them by the end and the young ones are starting to put it together.

One of the cutest parts, besides their love of waving and singing, was the ring game we played. I had the activity in mind beforehand but made up the actual tune on the spot. I'm not that musically inclined, so an older class might have called me on it, but these kids weren't that judgmental. It was a very simple premise: we held hands and walked in a circle while I sang "What's the color today?" After the 4th time, I stopped and said a color, and the people with the matching nametag had to get in the middle while we sang their color and circled around them. It's such a small thing, but they loved to be in the middle. The funniest part is that all of them haven't mastered holding hands and circling so they kept bumping into each other like little penguins. We switched direction after each color which was another skill they're apparently working on. I just love them. At the end, one of the moms asked her kid if he was happy and he looked up me, smiled his chubby dimpled smile, and nodded.


bcinfrance said...

Welcome to blogger! There is quite a little group of expats going. Why don't you tell us a little more about where you're from and what you're doing in France?

Pardon My French said...

Oh, thank you for leaving a comment! I can't believe anyone actually read my blog. Having said that, I've enjoyed reading everyone else's blogs about being an expat in France. I'll try to update my profile when I get a chance, but the long and short of it is that I'm here with my French husband and am liking it so far. I've been here a little over a year. What about you?