hitting my halfway mark
The most recent anniversary that I've celebrated is that of my own: 5 months living in France!
I am so happy. Like, I just want to make that very clear right off the get-go. I am so thankful for everything that has happened over the last five months; I would not trade this experience for anything. The Andégo program has helped completely change my life forever. So, with that being said, let's get into this post!
I am quickly realizing, as I've mentioned before, how much I sincerely adore teaching. As I experiment with new ideas, projects, and ways to help the English program at school, I have found nothing but a receptive and supportive team of teachers and staff, making it so fulfilling to propose those new ideas and want to be involved. My newest project has become "les examens orales", or oral/speaking tests, with my junior class students. I did a practice test with them back in October and found it very successful, so I decided to propose the idea to a larger group in hopes of giving the students another type of practical application of what they're learning with a native speaker. This was an activity that my incredible high school French teacher, Madame Katie Leonard, introduced to us at the start of my French career, and while, yes, they might be a bit scary or difficult, the practice of speaking is imperative to really learning and becoming fluent in a language. Before our February vacations, I will do these exams with both sections of the junior class and chat with them about their futures, their hopes and dreams, and careers they are interested in. I can't wait to see what they come up with and how much they've improved over the year so far!
This is just a small example of one thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. Now, even just walking to classes through the courtyard at school, I have sweet elementary schoolers running up to hug me and tell me the newest English word they've learned. The number of times I've had a five-year-old run up to me and scream, "CARROT!" first thing in the morning has become more than I can count, but nevertheless, it's so amusing each time. It makes me so proud that even just by being here, I'm offering a way into a new world for a lot of these students - very similar to having a foreign exchange student at school in the States, everyone wants to know where they're from and what life is like for them. Even if they're just asking me questions like, "What do you guys eat like in America?" or "Where do you live in the States?", they're slowly learning little real facts that will help expand their love for learning about not just American culture, but cultures and life all across the globe. That's my ultimate goal here - in France, with this blog, and for the rest of my life - to inspire people to want to reach further, learn more, connect deeper.
This won't be the longest post (I have much more coming in the future!), but I wanted to let everyone know that I am enjoying each day, I am growing into this new teaching responsibility, and exploring every minute I can. Thank you again for supporting me as I pursue my passions. It means the world to me to have people from all parts of my life who genuinely want to see me succeed and blossom in this world. I send all my love to you.