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My Favourite Memories with Students


A photo of me with my host mom and her students

Throughout my teaching career thus far, I had have some funny moments and some sentimental moments with students that have a special place in my memories.


Let me tell you about 4 of my favourite memories with students.

 

Canadian Laws

I have such a funny memory from when I was teaching English to native German students during my immersion program.


My host mom was, and still is, a teacher at a high school in Germany. Knowing that I was an aspiring language teacher, she offered to have me teach in her English class. During this class, I spoke only English with the native German students as my host mom asked me to pretend I didn't understand any German.


I introduced myself and told them a bit about Canada. I talked about our stereotypes such as all Canadians living in igloos, I talked about our foods such as poutine and Nanaimo bars, I talked about our 10 provinces and 3 territories, and much more. After that, it was a free for all. Any student could ask me any question about me, why I'm in Germany, how I know their teacher (my host mom), Canadian culture, and so on.


Some students asked me if I had ever seen a bear. Some asked what I was doing in Germany, when I got here, and how long I was staying. There English was phenomenal! They all spoke so well and had no trouble understanding me. I ask them to help me understand the word Tja and to recommend some German music to me.


But I think the most memorable question I got ask had to do with Canadian laws. I remember there were these male students in the back of the classroom who were giggling to each other as they tried to ask me the question. They were very curious about the Canadian laws surrounding marijuana.


This made me and the rest of the class laugh. It was a question I had never been asked before and definitely wasn't expecting to be asked. Since I don't partake in the substance, my understanding of our laws is quite basic, but I did my best to explain them. They are students I definitely won't forget!


Siezen v.s. Duzen

It was during this same immersion program that I had a student use Siezen with me for the first time.

For those who aren't familiar with the German language, there is a formal way to speak called Siezen and an informal way to speak called Duzen. One would use Siezen when speaking to a stranger, someone older than you, and/or to someone of authority such as a boss, a police man, and/or a teacher. Duzen is used with close friends and family, with someone younger than you, and/or animals. So essentially, to use Siezen is to be formal and show respect and to use Duzen is to be informal and show closeness.


At this time, I was in a kind of student-teacher position. There is this awkward limbo period as a student-teacher, especially when you teach young adults, where you are technically a teacher to these students even though you are within about 5 years of their age. With this particular student, I believe I was about 2-3 years older than them. Because of this narrow age gap, it felt funny to me having someone address me using Siezen.


I told them it was okay to use Duzen with me. However, this student, who had a Russian background, had explained to me that in Russian, it doesn't matter what your age is. If you are in a position of authority, such as a teacher, you use formal speech with them.


Through this experience I learned that sometimes it's best to let students do what is most comfortable for them. Although addressing me using Siezen felt funny at the time, it is not harmful to me. So, if this student felt more comfortable addressing me with Siezen instead of Duzen, then where is the harm in that?



"You look like a real professor!"

Frau Hannah

It's well known that teachers have to follow a certain dress codes in order to appear professional. This includes clothing which is not revealing, well kept hair, clean and fresh smelling, and so on.


Before one of the classes for my TESOL practicum, I had chosen to wear this dress.


While handing out booklets, I had one student give me a thumbs up and say "You look good!". The comment made me smile. I said thank you and continued handing out booklets. At the end of class that day, the same student came up to me and said "You look like a real professor!". That was a compliment that meant a lot to me as it was also the first time someone associated me with the word professor - my dream career. So, I suppose my choice in teacher fashion worked out in my favour that day!


The End of my TESOL Practicum

The card my students gave me

My TESOL practicum came to a close after 4 weeks. I spent a total of 6 hours each week with these students, and even more with my professor and on my own preparing lesson plans. At the end of my final lesson, all 20 of my students applauded, said a big thank you, and gave me this beautiful card that they all signed.


A kitkat with a note that says thank you in japanese, korean, spanish, portugese, and English, as well as my name


I wanted to give them something in return for being such an amazing class, so, prior to my final class, I made these little gifts for each and every one of them.


A few of my students came up to me after class and asked me questions about my career plans as a teacher, the other languages I speak, and so on. A few also came to get pictures together. One student said she was going to miss me, which just tugged on my heartstrings.


I feel so blessed to have done my TESOL practicum at a university and in a class with international students studying abroad in Canada. They were such great students and all are incredibly smart and talented language learners. I will definitely miss my first ESL class.

 

What are some of your favourite memories with students? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.



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