Now that I have started my French classes, I am both a teacher and a student at the same time. In fact, I’m teaching a language while studying another one, although in different contexts. Kindergarteners and adults are pretty different populations to teach, but I’d say that some of my teacher experiences are helpful in my student experiences, and vice versa.
Teaching young children is a lot about understanding their personalities and motivations. How my class ends up progressing also depends on my own personality and on my style of teaching. My students might get the same curriculum as my coworker’s students, but they’ll still learn different procedures and behavioral responses from being with me every day. My French class is the same; our teacher led our first discussion on the interaction of men and women in Morocco because she is interested in feminism and politics, and it is clear that we are going to have to have opinions (in French) on those topics. The first word she wrote on the board was “un misogyne,” a misogynist. I didn’t write that one down…it doesn’t come up in conversation much for me, even in English.
When I was a college student, I often had days where I really didn’t want to be in class. As a teacher, I certainly also have those days, but it’s much less okay for me to show it. If a teacher doesn’t feel like teaching, the whole class will struggle that day. So I hope to come to my French classes with the same ambition and energy I have for the classes I teach. Especially now that I know what it’s like to be on the other side!