Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An educator, you will be, my young Padawan!

I was not born an educator, I made myself one. The old debate of nature versus nurture, makes me wonder how much of my educator skills could my ADN back up.

I was five years old and I had a nasty teacher, Madame Daphy. She once slapped me because I could not use scissors properly. I never told my Dad or there would have been a murder at school and we would have had to join Madame Lalanne's classroom for a while. Madame Lalanne taught older kids, and I would not need an extra challenge, what with my Dad going to prison and all.
So, I kept my ordeal to myself, but declared:
"I will be a teacher and I will be in charge!"

I sincerely do not believe this qualified as a true expression of a passion for teaching. 

My "calling" came later, much later.

As a student, I needed a job to sponsor my studies. I was living abroad, in Taipei at the time, and was planning to come back to France and enroll in the prestigious Ecole Superieure d'interpretariat et Traduction. 
Because most students who boarded in the same youth hostel as I did taught English, I naturally thought of teaching a language I knew well: French, my mother tongue.
Unfortunately, no one there wanted to learn French, so the people who hired me asked me to pretend I was a Canadian and teach English. 

It took about six months before I built up a French teaching clientele.
I had no clue how to do that, and I had never been to Canada, but no one likes to starve in a foreign country. I was amazed at what my students would believe. I felt bad to lie and my employers were happy.

I had no books and no material, so I created my own French language starter course. I even tried to have it published, but no one was interested.
Nowadays, there are scores of good sites proposing material to study modern languages. If you are serious about learning a foreign language, you can speed up the first steps by buying a package. They are well worth it, and once you have a basic knowledge, a tutor can help you improve your skills.

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This program has it all, you can learn French
as you commute to work or school, TRY IT! 

 Somehow, as my degrees brought me more credibility, I ended up teaching in secondary school... and I taught English, believe it or not. The difference is that everyone knew I was French, I did not have to lie and everyone was happy with me.

Still, I did not feel like an "educator" with a big "E." My passion started to soar when I taught primary grades. These kids were happy no matter what I did. "Take your books," YEY! "Put your books down!" YEY, etc. The days went by and I had a permanent smile on my face looking at my students enjoying being at school.

That was it, I was hooked. I forgot about the prestigious ESIT and worked towards becoming an official teacher.

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