I posted a short video a couple of weeks ago on my Instagram which probably confused y’all. Here’s the full version:
This past summer, I worked as a French teacher for around 20 Gr2/3 students. It was one of the most overwhelming and patience-testing experiences of my life, but boy is it true that hard work pays off.
For our end of the summer talent show, I wanted these kids to go above and beyond. I didn’t want them to just do a simple little skit… or a dance where I’d have to lead in the front with my back turned to the audience. I wanted them to put their ideas together and feel proud of themselves when they executed the performance all by themselves. I was so surprised with the way it turned out, to be honest because the days leading up to the performance were absolute torture. With it being the last week of camp, the heat wave couldn’t have come with better timing, the kids were relentless, and on top of that it was my turn to organize the week’s worth of activities. I was stressed to the max and you know those days when just nothing goes your way but you gotta keep smiling anyway? YA it felt like those days were lasting about a lifetime and a half.
But what I learned from these kids is that creativity never dies. Put them in a room to channel their energy into creating something using their bodies and imagination and they’ll take advantage of it in the most beautiful way. That’s not to say I didn’t have to scream “amazing job, guys”, “you are all little stars”, and “look at you guys go” every 20 minutes while practicing. But you know what, I’m 100% sure it made a difference. When they can feel your passion and enthusiasm in the activity, it just rubs off on them. I had to fake it so hard on those rough days just so they could stay motivated.
Working with kids all summer just reminded me of how important education is and that values go hand in hand with education. We need to be teaching kids how to be resilient and motivated to learn just as much as we should be teaching math and science. And, they learn these qualities by feeling loved in the classroom. When you’re constantly praising their work and making them feel like there’s nothing they can’t do, you’d be surprised how far they can go.
Throughout the week though, I was going through an emotional rollercoaster. I’d feel like the kids were getting somewhere one day, then by the next morning (not even 24hrs later) I’d feel like all our hard work was going to waste. I wanted to give up so bad but my passion for these kids and my belief that hard work never goes to waste was burning far brighter than my pain. I actually almost broke down as I was putting up the screen for the shadow performance on the day of the talent show because it was time sensitive & it was just so dang HOT that day, not to mention I had no food in my system.
But the kids surprised me. I recorded the performance on my phone with a hand on my heart, smiling the entire time. I was the happiest girl on earth because I knew they performed like the Queen was watching. And I’ve actually never been that proud of young kids in my life.
Parents came up to me asking if I was returning next year to teach. My students were showering me with love after the talent show. Even the not-so-attentive kids (I like to call them) were giving me hugs (I thought they hated me because I yelled at them every other hour!?) My co-workers were high-fiving me like I had just won a million dollars. It was so rewarding to feel like all the hard work paid off and made a difference in the lives of these kids. They’ll remember this performance for a long time, I bet.
Now going into my second year of concurrent education and French Studies, I can’t help but keep this experience in mind. Knowing that right when I was going to quit that it all paid off. I’m so pumped for the experiences to come and lessons to be learned so I can better serve students in the future! Everybody already knows me as the one girl who’s always excited for school. But come on guys: school = education = learning how to better our world. ❤
Have an amazing new school year y’all and just know you win right after you feel like giving up!! 💪