Tuesday, December 7, 2010

French is a Child's highlight of the year

Today I was the princess of the assembly at the local Intermediate School.

This year I have been teaching French to two Year 8 classes and mentoring their 2 teachers at the local Intermediate School and today was our last lesson.

I have to admit the year has gone very fast and I cannot believe how much the students have achieved! I taught each class alternatively (one class one week, the other class the other week) and the teacher was reinforcing what we did during the week I was not here. Each lesson lasted around 30 minutes. I taught during my free periods. In other words, I get 5 free periods during which I am supposed to plan my lessons, do the massive amount of admin that a teacher has to do etc...during one of those free period I went during the whole year teaching across the field at an Intermediate School. (for free of course!)

During the year we went through what my Year 9 do but faster (much faster!).

Last week, the Year 8 had to write their graduation papers where they write down what was the highlight of their year. In one of the class (Room 1), out of 28 kids, 20 students said the highlight for them was to learn French !!!!

It is at that moment that I felt the happiest !!!! All the hard work that the 2 teachers and myself have put in has paid off !!! It was all worth it.

So to celebrate the end of the year, the students have invited me for a special assembly. I watched them singing a song in French and playing games (about numbers). We then had a special morning tea. A little girl baked some muffins and wrote in dark blue icing “MERCI” on them (it means thank you). They gave me a giant bouquet of flowers, which I can smell right now while I am writing this post and offered me some chocolates. It was fantastic to have kids hugging me, thanking me and asking to have a picture taken with me. I felt like a princess, I think it was the moment a teacher dreams about during her whole teaching life.

Merci beaucoup Room 1 and Room 7

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Edtalks saved my Flight

I hate flying so much !!!! In the morning of the day of my flight I start to have butterflies in my stomach until the plane arrives at destination and that I know I have not burned alive i the air or crushed in the middle of the ocean. Of course I know the risk of me dying while driving to my way to work is way higher than dying in a plane, but fear has no reason.

So to calm me down I download videos and watch them during the flight with full volume on.

Yesterday I came back from Christchurch and I had downloaded a video on my Itouch in order to forget I was sitting on a chair in the middle of the sky. I took the video from the Edtalks website.

For the teachers in New Zealand, Edtalks is a very famous website where videos of educators are hosted. It is a site created and looked after by Core Education.

There are heaps of videos to choose, from Toni Twiss’s video “Living and learning in the cloud” to “Effectiveness of e-learning PD” from Vince Ham.

Yesterday, I picked the video from Lee Crockett, “Understanding the digital generation”. I was lucky enough this year to go to Ulearn where I have seen Lee Crockett presenting “live”. I was blown away during his keynote as he made me think about what I was doing in my class.

The second time it is even better !!!! As I am planning courses for next year, watching the video again was the best move for me as it has reminded me what to include or not in my teaching.

What ever the subject you are teaching, this video plays a pivotal role in a healthy vision of teaching nowadays.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why NCEA ?

When you are a secondary teacher it is now NCEA time. It means that your students are setting their final exams of the year .

While I was quite happy with the exam of my Year 12- for once no French words have been invented and the texts actually made sense- I was thinking “what am I doing??” as I was reading the text for the listening activity.

What is the point of the exam???

The texts in the exam are made to trap the students, not actually to see how much they actually know. It seems that the person who writes the exam looks at a vocabulary list and thinks “ well now what are the most difficult words?”, then, try to make a plausible story using those words.

why? what is the aim of a such activity?

Certainly not to encourage kids carry on with a language ! I could understand if it was a test to reward their learning, to show them how much they have learned this year and/or for the last 5 years , but why trying to make them fail ????

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rosa rosa rosam ......

When I say to people I am a French teacher I hear a lot of different comments, including the one “ I didn’t like French when I was at school, I was very bad at it! And it was very boring, we had to conjugate verbs”.

I usually try to tell people that the teaching has changed since the time they went to school and that I do not ask my students to conjugate verbs.

How surprise was I during my last lesson with my Year 12 when I asked them what I could do to be a better teacher, what I could have done better this year !! Unanimously they answered that they would like to do more conjugation in class and for homework.

I could not believe what I heard. I thought they were going to tell me that they should do some more fun stuff, or watch some more movies or do some more ICT activities. But No !!!! They want to take a verb and conjugate it in different tenses.

I have been teaching those students since Year 9 and I have never done conjugation with them. So they do not want to do conjugation because their previous teacher used to do this type of activity with them. I have to admit I am not sure why they would want to do some conjugation !!!! It is not even a requirement for NCEA, so the excuse of getting a better grade at exam is not even a valid argument.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No heat pump + cold= angry teacher

The block I teach in is going to be refurbished next year. This is a very good news as there is only one electrical socket in my room, which is not ideal when I need to plug my computer, the data projector, the speakers and when my students need to recharge their laptop. A fire ready to happen

As you can imagine I was very happy to hear that the whole block will be refurbished.

Until tonight when I read on a board of trustees report that no heat pump will be installed in the lower block, it means that there will not be a heat pump in my classroom.

As the room is facing south, the sun does not reach at all the windows. The only source of heating comes from 3 radiators dating from the last ice age and they get switched off at the end of period 2, 11 am. Because I am so cold I have to teach wearing thermals and some students are so cold they have to wear a hat !!!

I know that we are in NZ and we have to “be tough” as being cold and admitting it is seen as a sign of weakness, but I think this is a bit too much.

Is it acceptable to work being cold?? I do not think so. Is it acceptable for our students to be cold while learning?? I do not think so.

Being cold is not the best learning environment for the students. I am very angry…..

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Year 10 teaching French

At the beginning of this year, Pascale Hyboud-Peron and myself supported my Year 12 teaching French to a Year 8 at the local intermediate - the whole project can be seen here.
The experience was fantastic and obviously teachers at the Intermediate heard about it and its success and a few weeks ago I have been asked by a teacher if my Year 10 could teach his class.

When I spoke about it with my students they were over the moon!! they will teach in total 4 lessons (once a week). Our first task was to plan what we were going to teach and then how to teach it. I let the kids decide everything, only giving them advice when asked.

After our first lesson, we came back to our class and we reflected on our performances. The students were brilliant at that, they could actually be very critical of what they had done and they came up alone with alternatives for next time. One group of students was concerned with a Year 8 child they taught. They had 3 kids in their group, 2 were very fast and one was a bit slower and did not manage as well in remembering the lesson. My Year 10 are talented students who are, for most of them, in the accelerated class. Thus, they know the feeling of being a faster learner who is pulled back most of the time by other students. It was very good for them I think to experience for once what it feels like not to understand something very fast.
Hence as a class we discussed means of differentiation and I pointed out to them that I think that this is the hardest part of my job.

Today we had our second lesson and the Year 10 had a much better time as they had learned from their mistakes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Christmas in August

This week is International Languages Week in NZ. So the Japanese teacher and her classes made some sushi and my classes made crepes today. A business study teacher made some South African goodies. We sold them at lunch time for the rest of the school.

I feel for Food teachers !!! I am SO tired tonight !!!!

Lunch was a success even though I am falling asleep at 7 pm :-)

After making Crêpes with all my classes today, in 2 days we are going to celebrate Christmas. I am aware that we are only in August, but it is winter, cold and wet and also because we always finish school early in December we can never study properly Christmas. So I like celebrating it in winter.

The kids responded very well to my Xmas invitation. I actually can't wait Thursday !!!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mme Lyons in a frame

This post has nothing to do with teaching French in NZ, but I have to share my happiness!!!

The year 10 Art had to paint teachers a few weeks back. Last week, the exhibition took place.

I was very pleased to see that Lydia, the girl who painted me, did a fantastic job !!!! By far the painting she made was the most beautiful.

I have of course bought it and now we need to find the perfect place at home

Sunday, July 18, 2010

French Teachers in NZ

I am very lucky as a French teacher in New Zealand as our network ( French teacher network) is well developped.

We have a website where we can find all sorts of resources and where we can find the latest news e.g. a new change in NCEA - by the time we finish reading this post, approximatively 23 changes would have occurred to NCEA French!!

If it was not for French.ac.nz it would be very hard for me to keep up with all that. The website is done in such a way that it is one stop shop. I do not need to waste my precious time looking for details, everything is under the same roof. From resources for my Year 10 to practice assessment, I will always find something useful.

Who create all those resources?? it is us, us French teachers. We can easily upload resources we have made for others to enjoy in the country. It is as easy to also share a link of a website we find useful.

Each week, French teachers in NZ receive by email a newsletter in which they can find the latest resources and ideas which have been uploaded.

It helps to keep an eye on what is new and on how other teachers teach French in the whole country. I am the only French teacher at school and sometimes one can feel alone, but not anymore with French.ac.nz

Pascale Hyboud-Peron is the website administrator and is doing a fantastic job with it. I hope that she realises how much her work helps teachers in NZ . French teachers from other countries should have a look at it and see what can be achieved

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Teacher of NCEA

I teach NCEA….I am ashamed of what I do but it is the truth I am a NCEA teacher !!!

When I go to a party, which is not often enough !!!, and that I meet new people, they ask me the question that everybody asks when you meet someone “what’s your job?”. So far I have been lying to this question, too ashamed to admit what I actually do. I look straight and answer with my thick accent “ I teach French!”.

Do I ?? Do I really teach French???

I would say that 70% of the time I do. Unfortunately during the remaining 30% of my teaching time I teach NCEA.

Let’s start for the beginning: I teach geeks,I know I should not use that word but it is true, they are geeks and they only want to get Excellence at NCEA, a Merit being a failure. And knowing that NCEA French requires students to know and use weird grammar structures that French native speakers would never use I have to teach kids tips on how to introduce those structures onto their writing.

NCEA is not about communication, it is not about if you can share opinions or understand other people’s ideas. It is about creating sentences with some “pourtant, mais, cependant, où, qui, que, dont etc….” (however, but, where, who, which etc..).

I have a Belgian student in my class this year who is a French native speaker. I had to teach her how to pass the exams as she was not writing the required structures. She was failing although she speaks fluently French. Thank god I was here to tell her to produce strange sentences that nobody would say !!!!

In NZ we are SO lucky to have a very good curriculum, but at the same time we have NCEA which does not allow us to actually teach the curriculum. Because my students want an Excellence, I actually spend time in class teaching them how to pass the exam. If I don’t they will fail for sure. If a French native speaker cannot achieve, how can a kiwi pass???!!!!

So yes I teach NCEA

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pam Hook changed my life

Last week I was lucky enough to participate to a 2 day PD with Pam Hook and Julie Mills about SOLO taxonomy.

Sometimes you go to a PD and while the presenter makes his show, you think to yourself “right mate, what you say is very good but I don’t want to end up with 18 cats because my husband left me after I spend 10 hours to do one of your activity!!!!”

It’s true it happens heaps. You go to a course and it was a waste of money and a waste of your precious time. I become very tight with my time as it seems to run away from me.

Last week was not like that at all. Sometimes you meet someone who transforms your life, and this person for me is Pam Hook. Not only she has transformed my life but she has also transformed my students’ life.

My year 9 are working on “clothes and description”. After this fantastic PD, this week they wrote a piece or work on their uniform. They had to first describe their uniform, say why they like it or not (explain), imagine their ideal uniform and explain why they chose each item (e.g. mon uniforme idéal aurait un pantalon car c’est confortable). I gave them “serait” and “aurait” (would be and would have) as it is a Year 12 grammar structure. I was very impressed by the quality of their work.

What was the best thing about this activity is that the kids could express what they wanted, they were not stopped in one year. I mean that the time when they had to wait to be in Year 12 to do/learn something interesting is over. They used their brain and they produced something of an extraordinary quality

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Teacher's job

For the last week, my Year 10 and I have been studying French school system.

After the first “I want to go to school in France coz they don’t have uniform”, we actually start to look a bit deeper. We looked at the value of education here and in France, chances given and respect that teachers have or do not have. The usual thing.

The class I teach is mainly made out of students coming from an accelerate class. They are very nice, clever and mature students....but very lazy.

I told them that when I was in high school ( I am French you see, nothing is perfect !!!), I was working very hard every night although homework was not compulsory. And here came their surprising comments. Students told me that if they were lazy it was our fault (teachers’ faults of course) because we were not asking enough of them. Kids said that in one hour lesson, they only actually work 15 minutes max. As for homework, they cannot be bothered because it is too easy and they can do it in 20 minutes, so it is not the point to waste time.

My reactions to those comments are first that as teachers we obviously need to cater for those kids, and be sure that the work which is set is challenging enough to be rewarding and engaging and second I find very strange that we still haven’t managed to teach our students to be independent.

I remember that when I was 17 (3 year sago !!!) my German teacher was crap. It didn’t matter to me because I knew how to work independently, and so I worked every night in order to speak German very well.

In conclusion, we are not doing a very good job: not only we don’t manage to engage students but also we are not capable of teaching our kids how to be independent learners.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

censure et autres at school

I am very annoyed !!!! For the last 2 weeks, I cannot print at school, I cannot receive school email and twitter and Gmail are blocked !!!!!

sometimes I wonder if we are really in 2010. Maybe I am in a fourth dimension where I thought that computers had been invented but in fact I am in 1767 and electricity is still a mystery !!!!

You could ask now “ but Froggieflo why is Gmail blocked at your school??”, and this I couldn’t answer because I have been thinking about it and I couldn’t find any plausible answer. I have been told that I should use my “school email” address, which by the way I cannot access via my apple mail. I have to go online to check my email. Which would not be a problem if I could access it outside of school, because, who knows why, we can only access our email box only at school. Gmail is much reliable and I can access it everywhere even on my Itouch !!!

Do you want to laugh??? I hope you are sitting because this one is quite funny. As of yesterday, students at school are given a gmail address. They had NO email address until yesterday !!!! so students can access their gmail but not the teachers.

And now you would want to ask me “but Froggieflo it is now 2010 (but os it?), I am sure you can work with teachers using Twitter, for sure it would be in the interests of your students that you communicate with other teachers. So Froggieflo tell me why is Twitter blocked?”. Well once again I cannot answer. I have been thinking about it for the last month, and I don’t seem to find a good reason why you would not want teachers to be connected with others.

HA it is SO good to laugh sometimes !!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

"There are only two reasons to learn something. Either because you need it or because you love it."

Yesterday @Johnpnz asked me what were my thoughts on this quote

"There are only two reasons to learn something. Either because you need it or because you love it."

He asked me on Twitter but I couldn’t answer in only 140 characters . So here is my answer to him.

I wanted to write something about it for a while anyway but I couldn’t face to put my thoughts on a page as I was still fuming.

I was lucky enough to go to Learning At School Conference in Rotorua last February. Like a lot of teachers, I thought this conference was fantastic, but (there is always a BUT!!) I went to a workshop which made me very angry. I went to see this lady who I had seen before and thought she was amazing. Well since L@S I have changed my mind. This lady said we should be able to see in the future and see what we need to learn. According to her, it is unnecessary to learn French (she actually took this example in her workshop) if we are not going to use French in our professional life later.

As you can imagine as French teacher and as a lover of languages I was bloody pissed off !! She could have taken any other examples and it would have been the same thing as I think you shouldn't learn things just because you will need it.

Here comes my answer to @Johnpnz :

I think of course we need to learn things because we need them. If I were living in a forest I would need to learn how to hunt efficiently- and very quickly- in order to survive, no doubt about it !!

I have learned heaps of things just because I like them. I have learned how to sign (French sign language) just because I like it, I don’t need it, I didn’t want to get a job where it could be necessary, I have learned Latin (although I was very bad at it!!!) just because it is interesting.

So I would say that of course we learn things either because we need or because we love them.

What makes me sad in NZ is the fact that we don’t give the opportunity to students to do something just for the pleasure or just for the pleasure of culture. We ask our year 9s or Year 10s to choose their options according to which job they are thinking doing later ( maybe in 10 years or more). It seems that we consider that knowledge which is not needed is obsolete. Why would you learn French or biology if you are not going to use them later???
I am a learner, and proud of it. You know when we play the game “What would you do if you were winning the Lotto?” , I would answer that I would pay my mortgage and install double glazing of course, but it would also give me the opportunity to learn even more. To be honest, I love my job, I think it is the best job in the whole world, but after teaching, marking, doing duty at lunch time, looking after my baby in the evening, carry on work at night at home etc.. I am very tired and I cannot find the time and the energy to learn what I would love to. I always wanted to learn pottery, Russian, Arabic...not because I need them, but because I would be very happy to go to bed thinking I can create a vase (not only I want to, not by need) and I could have a conversation with people in Egypt and/or in Algeria. Exactly like now when I am happy to go to bed knowing a bit of biology and geology although I don’t need to.

Sometimes it feels like Education is seen by Schools and Governments like a water tap which has been set to only have a few drops of water running. Why can we not open the tap full and let kids learn just for pleasure ???

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hannibal in Lebanon

This morning I was watching the news on Aljazeera - thank you Stratos for broadcasting it on your channel. Today the accent was on how history is taught in Lebanon. It was of course very interesting as it always is on Aljazeera.

I thought the most surprising bit as a teacher was when teenagers were asked which History character they admired. I have heard Hitler, Napoleon, Hannibal and some Lebanese men.

While I was watching I asked myself what would the kids I teach answer. I am sure they would say Dan Carter, you know the guy half naked on our billboards with tight buttocks! Don’t take me wrong it is nice to have men with tight buttocks, but I am not sure if my students have ever heard about Hannibal and even Napoleon. I remember that once when I asked my students what they knew about Hitler, they told that “he was a very nasty man”.

Although I teach in NZ, I know this is happening in other countries as I used to teach in England. So it is not the usual excuse that we live on an isolated island in the middle of the ocean.

On the Aljazeera news, the students were capable of discussing their opinions and their point of view on History in their country. I would love to see that in my class (although I don’t teach social sciences) and not hear that Hitler was a nasty man.

The classroom seemed bare, they had a black or white board and students seemed engaged and passi

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Solo taxonomy and a Year 10 French

Today I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I was looking at my Year 10 French. I saw engaged kids who used their brains although we are studying daily routine which is not very exciting!

When my students leave school I want them to speak French, of course !!!, but I want above all that they open their mind to the rest of the world.
Since Learning At School Conference, I make sure that my students do activities which are high order thinking.

After looking at the life of a child from a 1/3 world country, students wrote a text about their own life, their own daily routine. Today they had to find the consequences of their daily routines on both their life and the 1/3 world country child’s life. What will/could be the impacts of their daily routine on their future lives?

I divided the class in small groups with a “French expert” in each group. I am aware that this activity was extremely challenging as my students have been studying French for only 1 year. After a few minutes, each group was working very hard.

I was of course very proud of each student’s effort but I have to admit that I was even prouder of a struggling student who could help in her group. Although this student has learning difficulties, she was able to contribute in her group with her strength. It was also very interesting to see that each group came up with a different point of view on the consequences of their daily routine. Students who are usually very good did not extend themselves as much as I thought they would, whereas students who are less capable shined during this activity even if their level of language was lower than better students.

Most groups came up with the idea that education takes a major place in life. According to them, one of the massive difference between them and a child from a 1/3 world country would be access to a good education. Students reckon that if you do not have access to a good education, you do not get a good job. If you do not get a good job, you won’t make good money. If you don’t get money you won’t eat good food which will lead to malnutrition and disease.

Overall it was a very good and engaging activity. I will definitely do another activity like this one. What is amazing about this type of activity is that children do not need to be fluent in the language they are using.

Monday, March 22, 2010

French camp at Tui Ridge

French camp has been another success !

Two teachers of French, from Cambridge High and from Hamilton Girls High, and myself have been organizing a French camp for the second time now.

The camp lasts 2 days, starts on Thursday morning and finishes Friday afternoon. This year we looked after 150 students who come from the Waikato and The Bay of Plenty. This camp targets students from Year 12 and Year 13. Kids have to speak French of course for the full duration of the camp. I always thought that students would not like speaking French to each other (shame of their low level of language) but actually they all make an effort and use French almost all the time.

After going through the Douane where they have to give home baking, students have a brise glace activity to go through. During the afternoon, each student goes through some activities directed by teachers. As it is a French camp, there is food for about 3000 people and we stop often for a big or a small snack.

In the evening after dinner and a French quiz, schools have to present a show to the other schools. My students presented the story of the 3 little pigs in mime. I think everything went well.
Thank god that DVD has been invented because after what it seems like 58 hours of crazy teenagers, it is nice to watch a French movie (Bienvenue chez les Chtis) before to go to bed at midnight.

On Friday, after croissants (of course !!!) and 2 slots of activities, it is time to do a bit of prize giving.

Overall it was another fantastic French camp. I enjoyed myself and although I was VERY tired I cannot wait the next one.
I have to add that without the help of the teachers of French from the Waikato and the bay of Plenty this camp will not exist. Merci à tous !!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bringing expert in a French class

Although I am a true French ( with the accent and all), I wanted my students to hear somebody else’s story about their life in France.
I thought that a kiwi living in France would give them another point of view of France that I cannot present. My experience of France is unique as somebody else’s experience of France would be.

After a fast search on Mr Google, I have found Kim Martelli who blogs about her life in France. She is a kiwi and used to go to Katikati College. I wrote her an email explaining that I wanted to bring an expert in class via Skype. Without hesitation she accepted.

This morning, during period 1 (9 am), Kim had a 35 minutes skype conference with my Year 13. The kids were of course shy (and giggly !!!! As you can imagine teenagers dealing with a new situation) and asked questions that came up naturally. The only boy in the class had, of course, to ask if French girls were hot or not !

After the conference, the students carried on their conversation and asked me other questions. It was nice and exciting for me as their teacher to see the experience continue even after the conference. I was very happy to see them thinking.

As I come from Corsica and Kim lives in the center of France, it was also very interesting to listen to her describing her food experiences. She told the kids that it was hard for her at the beginning to get used to the massive amount of butter used in the French cuisine. Her experience is totally different than mine, as we don’t use butter where I come from but olive oil.

Over all it was a very positive experience that I would love to do again

Monday, March 1, 2010

Failure does not have to be a bad thing

When I arrived in the UK what shocked me the most was the fact that you could not tell a child that he wasn’t good at something. It seems that failing at something was the most degrading thing on earth, so degrading that people didn’t even dare saying the word.

Well, actually we are not all tall and beautiful, we are not all slim and attractive, rich and intelligent….some of us are small, some are not as academic as others etc.. Why should we not admit it ??!!! I am small and I am never upset that people tell me I am small, because of the simple fact that I am actually small.

When I was at school, I was very bad at maths (and biology, and physics, and chemistry, and English !!!!) but I am ok with that. My teachers told me at a young age that maths was not my bag, and thank god they did !! If they hadn’t told me that I wasn’t good at maths, I would not have discovered that I am actually good in grammar and I would not enjoyed doing a degree in linguistics. I am very happy that my teachers were honest and so I could discovered my talents.

Although I failed at maths (and biology, and physics, and chemistry, and English !!!!) I have excelled in other areas which have given great pleasure in life. If my child could not sing at all, would I tell her that she can sing perfectly ?? Or will I help her to find something she enjoys doing ??

We don’t have to be good at everything, and I think it is acceptable to be bad at something at school because that could lead us to something much greater.

I suck at maths and I am happy !!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Revelation at Learning at School conference

On the first day of the conference I went to a breakout on SOLO taxonomy presented by Pam Hook from Hooked on Thinking.

I had heard about SOLO taxonomy before and to be honest I hadn’t understood a thing. So here I am in this presentation hoping to understand a bit more.

Well my dream was shuttered at first ! For a good part of the talk I couldn’t understand a thing….not a thing. After crying for a while on my own shoulder, disappointed to be “unclever”, I had a click and understood what it was all about !!!! (at that point I was so proud of myself I wanted to dance on my chair, but don’t worry I didn’t !!!)

After the first few seconds of happiness I became very sad again as it hit that I am a crap teacher ! (crap is here not standing for any clever educational abbreviation, just crap!) I don’t use SOLO taxonomy in my class. I don’t ask THE right questions to my students. I thought until this presentation that my students in my class were actually thinking all the time, but they are not.

So after wanting to dance on my chair I wanted to hang myself on my chair ! And then I thought that instead of crying I should take the decision that for now on I should learn more about SOLO, and implement the theory in my French class.

This breakout was a revelation for me and I am SO glad I went there as I have (again) grown so much as a teacher. I am a long life learner and not ashamed to admit it

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Learning at school conf 2010

Here I am in my bed at 5 am in the morning and already awake in front of the computer. I could not sleep because I am as excited as a child on the day before Christmas.

Here in Rotorua is going to be held a conference for eager educators willing to learn new stuff. I have booked the breakouts I wanted to attend and I actually cannot wait that the conference starts at last.

I have been in NZ now for a bit more than 5 years and I have always been impressed by how much the educators are here passionate about their profession. Although we are a very small country (only a bit more than 4 million kiwis) the technology is here cutting edge and what I find the most amazing is how much educators are interested in LEARNING. I have never been in a country where learning takes such a big place in education.

I am sure I won’t be disappointed and I will learn a lot during this conference because I know how well prepared all presenters are and I know that all the teachers participating to this conf are ready to learn.

I feel I am very privileged to participate to such a conference.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

So, you want to know how was my 1st ICT lesson???

I have been teaching in NZ for 5 years now, and since I have been here I have been teaching French and only French. Unfortunately this year I also have to teach ICT in order to teach a full timetable !!! :-(

Kids who take French in NZ are usually smart kids with a very opened mind ( languages are optional) and are, most of the time, very polite.

Yesterday was my first ICT lesson with a Year 9 (13 years old) and I have to admit that I hadn’t used any behaviour management strategies for the last five years. In my French classes, if students chat a bit too loudly I only have to give them a bad look and they stop! However yesterday I had to use a lot of strategies I used to use when I was teaching in England.

I was very tired at the end of the hour as I had to spend a lot of time dealing with misbehaving kids. I was also very upset to think that I had been paid during this hour to implement behaviour strategies instead of engaging ALL students.

To be honest, after lunch time when I had finally cooled down, I reflected on my lesson and realised that although 4 students were not taking advantages of whatI had to offer in the classroom, 26 students (or almost 26 ) were engaged and actually very excited about the learning and the thinking that were happening in our ICT class.

Should I be happy that I engaged 26 students out of 30?? Or should I aim to engage the whole class?? Would I be happy with 80% successful results if I had another job??