Teaching In A Second Language Doesn’t Have To Be Scary Or Overwhelming

Sometimes life can be surprising

If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I am passionate about working with kids. I enjoyed teaching in small groups, doing guided reading, math, and projects for social studies and science. Teaching in French was something I didn't expect, but ended up doing as well.

How Taking Chances With  French Changed My Teaching Goals

​I always enjoyed the French language when studying it in high school and after I was married, we enrolled our children in French Immersion. I took some more university courses in French and started to do some volunteering in my kids' classrooms. I really enjoyed it, and I was good at it. I took a couple of summer immersion courses and started to do some substituting in primary French Immersion classrooms and in Late Immersion.

I ended up doing a long term subbing stint in a grade 1 class and I discovered that it was important to use simpler language to communicate. The verb tenses were simplified and aller and avoir became my friends when talking to younger kids. This temporary contract was followed by another one that was replacing the music teacher in a French Immersion school. Learning the specific music terms and some familiar songs was my next task, but it didn't take long.

Teaching in a second language doesn't have to be scary

​I discovered through experience that teaching in French was not as scary as I once thought it would be. Teaching in a second language doesn't have to be overwhelming even if it isn't your native tongue. It can be the result of circumstances, or a desire to do so. I have been tutoring children in French for about 5 years now and I also taught French Immersion music for 9 years.
​When I moved into an English primary classroom, I stopped speaking French for a few years, but about 6 years ago, I started again when my grandsons entered French Immersion. It took awhile, but slowly the tongue got used to it again. I had just retired, so I started to volunteer in his class and this helped.

The process is similar, only the language is different

What I discovered, was that the learning process was similar, it was only the language that was different. Guided reading was still the way to go for meeting the needs of the different kids and their language development. Math was still basic facts and principles with slightly different terms for the different languages. Science was still hands on and exciting to do. And so on.

I found that creating games and situations for hands on activities really helped with understanding vocabulary and concepts, so I started to create specific materials for the students I was working with. I found these activities worked so well with my French students, that I created English versions for use when I was volunteering and working with kids at my former school.
​They say that when there is a need, motivation and creativity will happen. This was the case for me. Now when I look back at my resources that I have created, it is amazing to see how many French resources I have done. If someone had told me a few years ago that I would have French products in my store, I probably wouldn't have believed them. Now I look at my French materials category and there are well over 100 products listed. 

You can do it. Here is some help.

If you are teaching primary grades in French Immersion or a late Immersion class or even core French these resources might work well for you. Check out my French material category to see what I have. I would love to hear what you think of them. 
If there is a specific theme or type of product you are interested in, let me know in the comments. I am always looking for new ideas for creations. I wish you well as you navigate through this year and the different challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic.
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