Skip to main content

Je suis Madame Gazelle

Je suis Madame Gazelle! Or rather I was for 12 weeks at school.

I'd been helping out Friday afternoons at school all year, during Passport Time, where they spend two weeks doing an activity, then move to the next activity (cooking, science, cheerleading, drawing, drama...). We'd covered French in this time, and I'd helped the Year 2 teacher to cover this - we introduced chocolat chaud, and croissants avec confiture, as well as learning colours, the French flag and general greetings.

I was asked if I'd like to teach French to the Year 2s on a voluntary basis for the last term. I have now finished the 12 week stint and phew, was it challenging!

Madame Gazelle's picture (she's the teacher from Peppa Pig but most of you will know that) is here because from Week 1, I got the children to answer my Bonjour la classe with Bonjour Madameoiselle Stacey. I heard one girl say Bonjour Madame Gazelle Stacey! It was difficult not to laugh, but it kept my friends amused and I became known to everyone outside the school as Madame Gazelle!

Twelve weeks on, and we've covered: numbers 1-20, days of the week, parts of the body, pets, family members, fruits... We've played bingo, noughts and crosses, animal/mineral/vegetable in French, feely bag games... 

The teaching of the French wasn't actually the challenge. I had half the class (12) for half an hour each. I spent approximately 2 hours preparing for that half an hour lesson. Admittedly I wasn't using the curriculum, I just found materials and ideas on the internet. I'd print out flash cards and play fruit salad, or wait til we'd covered two topics, then create a bingo game on that card. God were they competitive?

Which brings me to this - it was not the language that was hard to teach, it was the children. Again with no training, I had a teaching assistant with me. I think I was being too nice to them, so they took advantage. One day I was feeling under the weather, and told them I hadn't got much patience. That day they toed the line! I learned not to spend too much time answering individual questions, because you lose the rest of the group. I learned not to do boys -v- girls games, as they were too competitive. Some cried when they didn't win. I learned to go from one activity straight into another. Less time in between tasks meant more concentration. 

I would come home shattered - an hour's teaching French was tougher than a week at work.

But of course it had its rewards. I never gave up, I kept trying - trying different tactics, different materials, different ways of making things interesting. 

On Week 9, I finally got one girl's attention. She'd hated doing the class before this, and would look like she was about to cry. When learning the weather (Il fait beau -v- il fait mauvais), she suddenly became very keen. She knew all the answers. When I said she'd done very well with the questions, she ran to the teaching assistant "She said I'd done really well". I felt I'd made a breakthrough. 

On the last lesson, she kept telling me she could count from 21 to 30. To be honest, I didn't believe her. She would start, then say "I can't remember". Right at the last minute, she said "I can do it." We were all dumbfounded when she counted almost totally accurately from 21 to 30! Her mum had taught her, she'd said. Although it sounds corny, I really felt that my hard work had been worth it. There were some excellent students in that class, with a good accent and a good memory for vocab. Then there was this girl. If a few of them went on to study French later in life, then my work would be done.

At the end of term, I received a little bouquet of flowers saying "Thanks for helping out in our class". I was so touched. 



Popular posts from this blog

Ms Humdrum recommends ... beaches around Padstow, Cornwall

(1) Lighthouse walk around Trevose Head to Booby's Bay
We walked around Trevose Head from our campsite in Mother Ivey's Bay, but of course you can access it from the coastal path. Passing over the lifeboat station, this afford you a view back over Harlyn and Trevone beaches, Stepper Point at the lower mouth point of the Camel Estuary and even as far as Polzeath and Pentire Point and the Rumps on the other side of the estuary. Once you have passed the lighthouse and the blow hole, the view is south to Booby's Bay and Constantine beach. Last year, we walked this route starting off drenched with rain and ending up in full sun, with a pasty pitstop by the lighthouse on the way. Watching the waves crash into Booby's over the rocks kept us occupied for quite some time.




(2) Padstow walk
Padstow, or Padstein as it's sometimes unfavourably known, is seen as a touristy town with the harbour as the main attraction. And it is and attraction. But there is much more to the area. A …

Would I Lie To You board family game review

Would I Lie To You? "The game of believable lies and unbelievable lies", linked into the TV show of the same name.

Purchased: December 2017 in Waterstones, for around £20

In a nutshell: These TV show-affiliated games usually show themselves up (Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Top Gear) but this game is fun and easy to play (if a little modified) as a family. You don't really need specialist knowledge to play, just the ability to lie!

Every year for Christmas, I like to buy a board game to play, even though no games better either Ludo(in which my dad is the reigning cheater-champion, and argues to high heaven over the rules about doubling up or how to place your counters in "Home") or Rummikub (which we can now play with two packs of cards lest we forget the game). This year, Would I Lie To You caught my eye in Waterstones (other emporiums - emporia? - for book lovers are [locally] unavailable).

It's a game, it says, for 2-8 players; however we decided it wouldn't…

My month - January 2019

This is New Year's Eve at our house. Every year, we host a disco for our little group of five families. Each year, we enjoy a little drink. Each year, we drink yummy espresso martinis. Each year, we dance and dance and dance. This year was no exception. This year, we chose rather cheesy music (think Copa Cabana) and danced and sang so much that my legs ached for days. 



This is my new mantra. I'm fed up of counting down the days to the weekend, or weeks to half-term. And it also links in with Bohemian Rhapsody, answering Freddie's first line question.


Sadly, my newly restored motivation for getting outside to do more exercise took a hit in the form of plantar fasciitis. For the lucky ones who don't know what it is, it is a bloody annoying pain in your arches and on your heel. I have had to wear my old moulded (not mouldy) insoles to help. I am obsessed with Skechers so I bought these comfy boots, only to find that memory foam isn't great for my foot thing, so in went …