Janna Qualman asked: “You've mentioned in passing you used to teach (which no doubt changed when your twins were born). What subject and grade did you teach, and what would it take to get you back into the classroom? Would you ever be able to pick between teaching and writing? (Horribly unfair to ask, I know.)”
Back in the days when I wasn’t married and didn’t have children, I was a teacher in Canada. Yep, I’m a Canadian now living in the US. I taught in French Immersion schools, which means English speaking children are plunked into a French environment where everything (except English class) is taught in French. That’s right, everything, even gym and music classes are in French. So, if you didn’t already figure out from my last name (Labelle), I’m a Frenchie. Well, sort of. My mom doesn’t know much French, even though she tried to learn when we were little. And because of this, my dad didn’t really speak to us in French either. We had to learn it all in school.
I love teaching. I really do. I love the smell and feel of being inside a school. I love the kids. I love being the center of attention. Hehehe Well, in front of kids anyway. Not so much in front of the parents during our open house presentations. I found that to be rather intimidating. Because they were THE PARENTS and I just knew they were judging me. Except maybe the single father who was attempting to flirt with me, but that’s a whole other story. Unfortunately, I have a few of those stories.
What I love most about teaching is finding creative ways to present the information and methods that made learning fun for the kids. I achieved this. The kids and their parents told me that every year. However, being in my class wasn’t easy. I pushed the kids harder than they’ve ever been pushed before. Something they didn’t like when they first met me, but appreciated by the end of the year. Not that it took me that long to win them over though. I wasn’t a mean teacher. I just knew the value of hard work. Granted, I was more strict on the older kids than the younger ones because the 7th and 8th graders I taught needed to be prepped for the big school. With me, they technically couldn’t fail because of the “no child left behind” policy, but once they left our school, they were in for a shock. Homework not completed = fail. Tests not studied for = fail. Poor grades = fail. I didn’t want those kids to figure it out the hard way, so I showed them what kind of expectations their teachers would have in the following years. I’ve run into some of those students, who’ve since graduated, and they thanked me for showing them the way. They said without my help, they surely would’ve failed their first year of high school. What teacher’s heart doesn’t turn to mush when they hear stuff like that?
Come back tomorrow for part two of this post.