What I Know Longer Know

My three week CFE placement was L’Ecole Bilingue, a French Immersion elementary school in Vancouver, BC.   Although my teachable subject is secondary English, I had requested a French Immersion CFE  in the rather pragmatic hope of securing French TOC positions.  I did, however, approach my French Immersion placement with trepidation: raised in Ottawa, I was formerly fluent in French, but have lacked practice since my departure over a decade ago.  My first day at L’Ecole Bilingue did little to allay these concerns– I struggled to gain my linguistic footing and felt self-conscious, which further impeded my verbal expression.   I had reservations about whether or not I would be able to complete the placement.   I do, however, have two children in French Immersion, and so gained some comfort from familiarity with the routines and structure of the curriculum.  Initially, however, my CFE immediately and abundantly answered the question “What I know longer know” and the answer resoundingly appeared to be “French.”

Returning to school and getting my BEd has definitely required stepping outside my comfort zone and has been an exercise in humility in general, and never more so than during the three weeks of my CFE.  While it was initially a struggle to set aside my pride and to admit my inadequacies,  I know that what I  learned from the experience of not knowing will make me a better educator. I hope to carry with me the vulnerability, the floundering, and the need for support that defined those three weeks—these feelings, while discomfiting, have deepened my empathy for students and in that empathy, I hope I have found a capacity for improvement as an educator. In order to improve not only as a French speaker but also as a placement student, I had to humble myself and admit my own need to improve– in order to teach, I first needed to learn.



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