The moment I met Miss A, I knew we were going to get along. She was so opened and excited to meet me. She is also very young. I was so surprised to the number of years she had been teaching. Her humor and tone of voice reflected her fun personality. No wonder why the classroom environment was so warm and welcoming.
There are about 20 students in the classroom. Students from all over the world sit and interact with each other. The classroom is tiny compared to other classrooms in America. This is because Paris is a small, populated city, with old buildings that cannot accommodate for big classrooms like the U.S. Kids sit in groups of 4-5. Because there is a lack of space, whenever students transitioning from one activity to another, the classroom always gets very crowded. The teachers I have been observing are a lot more lenient when it comes to leaving the classroom compared to the teachers in America. I am not quite sure if this is the “lassiez-faire” French culture that comes into play or if it’s the teachers’ preferences. Students are allowed to leave the classroom for water and to use the bathroom at any time. The teacher had told them to use their discretion in the beginning of the school year. During a lesson a student will get up and leave to go to the bathroom. However, not a lot of students do it when the teacher is teaching. They seem to go during transition periods or mostly during lunchtime. I think this shows that by having a teacher who seems “lenient” in fact is a sign of trust to these students. Because Miss A trusts that the students will leave the classroom at the appropriate time to use the restroom, the students also respect her rules and do not leave unless it is an emergency or it is a time when they will not be missing an opportunity to learn.
If Miss A needs the class’ attention, she usually stands by the door and says, “Class!” After she says that she just waits. She waits until everyone’s eyes are on her and are ready to receive instructions. Normally, the students seem to quickly stop what the doing and look towards Miss A. I have yet to encounter a time when the students did not freeze once the teacher raised her voice.
Miss A’s down to earth personality really creates a warm, calm, and welcoming atmosphere in the classroom. The students never seem anxious about tests or projects because she always reminds them that there is nothing more you can do than to do your best. She expects a lot from them and since the students respect her as a teacher they do their best to meet those expectations.