So let us ask a question about being judged. What if we didn’t feel judged when an observer came into our classroom? What if we could see through the false power – I believe it is false – that the observer thinks they have over us? Their power is only the power that we give them.
Our job security is on the line, you say? Maybe. But please! Is that a reason to become nervous and not teach like we can whenever we are being observed?
The narrator in the Little Prince, when he grew up, learned the ways of adults:
“Les grandes personnes aiment les chiffres. Quand vous leur parlez d’un nouvel ami, elles ne vous questionnent jamais sur l’essentiel. Elles ne vous disent jamais: “Quel est le son de sa voix? Quels sont les jeux qu’il préfère? Est-ce qu’il collectionne les papillons?” Elles vous demandent: “Quel âge a-t-il? Combien a-t-il de frères? Combien pèse-t-il? Combien gagne son père?” Alors seulement elles croient le connaître.” (Le Petit Prince, Ch. 5)
“Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? ” Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? ” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.” (Le Petit Prince, Ch. 5)
But our work is not about stuff like figures and numbers and politics and golf and neckties, unless we’re making silly things up about them with our kids so that they can learn the language in the real way. The other classes that our students endure are that way, the way of adults, of measuring and judging, but our classes can be, should be about lightheartedness and play.
As Krashen has said:
“The path of pleasure is the only path.The path of pain does not work for language acquisition.”