Last week a French lady came to spend the day with me in my class. She is thinking of becoming a teacher, maybe, perhaps….she had a bad experience at school and she is not sure if she wants to spend the next 20 years at school.
This lady spent the full day with, to see what a secondary teacher does. My first class was a year 9 French (of course French coz I am a French teacher!!!). The students had to make photos of them expressing verbs with their body. They could use a photo camera or a mobile phone. The lesson started and some kids had forgotten their mobile phone. They asked me if they could use my Chinese made mobile, which they love, to make some pix, I lent it to them and off they went outside taking some dressing up clothes on their way out.
Suddenly the lady looked at me and told me “ Oh my god but do you trust the kids with your mobile phone? Are they allowed to be outside? Don’t you want to stay with them outside to check on them?”
It was the first time she visited a school outside of France, and she never experienced a class where the kids are in charge of their learning. She was also very surprised that I was not lecturing my class.
I have not thought about my own experience at school for a long time. And it is very true that in France teachers lecture a lot, actually that is the only thing they do. This type of teaching suited me a lot when I was at school myself, but as a teacher I do not lecture, and I always make a point of making the kids responsible of their learning.
The fact that this lady was with me all day made me realise how much I have evolved in my teaching since my first class when I used to only lecture, exactly as I have been taught.