Getting students comfortable enough to speak another language is hard work. Students’ fear of making mistakes, general shyness and/or uncertainty all do battle with my efforts to get them to communicate en français. The constant work on vocab and verbs and pronunciation takes up every second of the class, but sometimes we just have to carve out time for something else. Yesterday was one such day. The French fête of Chandeleur (a combination of Pagan and Christian celebrations that anticipate Spring) was actually Thursday, but our school schedule made it easier to make crèpes for the kids on Friday. Round, golden crepes remind us of the sun, or so the story goes, but they also remind the kids that French class is cool and Madame est super cool.
Making crepes and getting ready to make crepes is really quite the production for me. I arrive at school with the crepe-maker, the blender, a cooler full of ingredients, and a bag of tools and dishes. I have to get up a little earlier to make a batch of batter before I leave for school because it has to sit for an hour. Then I have to set out all the fillings, the plates, the recipes, and so forth. The effort pays off as the need to communicate becomes something tangible for the kids. I can get a yummy crepe and smear it with Nutella and strawberries! Or bananas and chocolate chips if I just ask for it politely in French! And whipped cream! Merci Madame they all think. And they forget to worry about the mistakes. They all think about Chandeleur, the coming spring, and how easy and delicious crepes are. As for me, I’m worn out (but pleased). Meanwhile, the kids in my English classes are resentful.