My wife Aurora teaches English as a second language at the the elementary level, and with her eight weeks of summer downtime soon coming to an end, she's freaking out just a wee bit.
Adding to the stress is the fact that this year she'll be teaching an English immersion program she last taught five years ago. The program is called Le Bain Linguistique (Linguistic Bath), and is only offered in a limited number of schools. It divides the school year into two halves: one half of the year is devoted to the standard elementary curriculum and the other half is non-stop English - all day, every day throughout the half-year semester. Aurora just loves teaching the program because she gets to work within her own classroom setting and will only have to deal with two groups of about 35 students each during the school year (compared to the 600 students she typically handles as a roving English specialist providing one hour of English a week to numerous classes). Plus she believes in the program because she has had tremendous results with it in the past. But -- and this is a BIG but -- keeping school kids actively engaged in second-language acquisition for that amount of time takes a mountain of activities, and it's the teacher's responsibility to find, adapt and create all the activities needed.
Right now, Aurora's activity mountain is in our living room. And with the start of the school year right around the corner, the pressure is really on to move the mountain to the first of the two schools she'll be working at his year.
Everyone handles pressure in different ways -- Aurora cooks. So, we also have a mountain of pots, pans, dishes and utensils in our kitchen sink that needs to be tackled on a daily basis. On the other hand, we also have a freezer full of hmm-hmm deliciousness to get the family through those tumultuous first few weeks of school, when Aurora is bound to be totally immersed in her new and improved program. Hang in there, sweetie!
Are you a teacher or do you have school-age children? Tell us how you cope with back-to-school pressures at ourcanada.ca.