This past Saturday, I decided to get out of my tiny apartment for a little bit and venture into Laval city center, something that I actually don’t do that often. I decided to grab some coffee by myself and do some lesson planning somewhere other than my desk at home.
There’s this adorable tea and coffee salon in the heart of the city center, called Etienne, tucked away behind the town hall. Of course, it was packed, it being a Saturday afternoon, but once I sat down and started to lesson plan, I was in the zone. I didn’t care that I was awkwardly sitting by myself. I began to get lost in my teaching world.
However, I’m not going to sit here and write about how I enjoyed a coffee by myself at a local café. No, this is a story about a realization I had about myself as a teacher.
Most people whom have chosen to read my written musings on this blog of mine know that my main reason for being in France is to teach English to middle school and high school students. My main purpose is to gain experience in the realm of teaching a foreign language.
Before coming here, my confidence in the classroom lacked sufficiently. I never studied education in university, and the teaching I had done had been mostly tutoring individual students or small groups. However, being who I am, the difficulty doesn’t scare me away. I will attempt it anyways, especially if it’s something that I am particularly passionate about, even if that means making a fool of myself a good majority of the time.
So, here I was enjoying a cup of coffee, lesson planning in a café by myself, and I realized that I was succeeding at this journey that I’ve chosen to embark on. I was lesson planning, having an exact goal in mind with an exact plan in mind, something that terrified me 5 months ago. My creativity as a teacher was kind of, let’s be completely honest, ”meh” at the start of my contract in October.
Teaching is never easy, as I’ve expressed before in a few of my posts, especially teaching a foreign language in a foreign country, but here I was, here I am, accomplishing this goal that I’ve set aside for myself.
This realization brought to mind the feelings and the emotions that I experience while in the classroom. I can proudly say now that I am confident in the classroom. I no longer sweat bullets every lesson. I no longer fear that my students won’t understand anything I’m saying. I’ve learned to adapt if a lesson begins to go awry. I’ve learned the skill of explaining things in ways that my students will understand. I’ve learned how to help my students feel confident in the classroom and to show them that they are capable of learning, even when it’s difficult. I am teaching. I am a teacher. This is who I am. This is who I’ve become.
Nothing unique exists in teaching, but I do feel that I’ve found my own unique vibe in the classroom, my own unique mode of teaching. My journey is not unique, but I have made it my own, for that I am extremely proud of myself.
I was lost in a world in that café, a world I created on my own, first my having expectations of what it should look like and then over time merging into what it does look like, what it is, for me.
I recently wrote a post on the idea that normalcy is okay, that it’s okay to not constantly be on an adventure, and that we can find the adventure in our everyday lives. This, for me, is my lesson planning and being in the classroom. This is my normal adventure, and I am joyful in that.
I know that I’m going to leave this little French city in a few days less than two months from now with an immense feeling of accomplishment but also an immense feeling of sadness. I will miss this. I will miss teaching my students and working with the students, but I will definitely always remember it.