Oh, look at that, two posts in one day! Lucky you, little reader, lucky you.
(…Too much? Right, sorry.)
In any case, thought I would update about how things are actually going, you know, in France…where I live. With the aid of pictures not really related to the post.
I have started teaching officially now, although I have still-STILL-not met all of my classes due to scheduling, vacations, and class trips. I think I have one more, my Wednesday class which I only teach every other week, and that should be about all.
In general I haven’t hit too many road bumps so far aside from the unwilling or incredibly shy/self-conscious student here and there which, frankly, I expected from the get go. Oh, and the talking. The ENDLESS talking…because apparently in France when a teacher asks you to be quiet while she is teaching a lesson, it carries no meaning whatsoever and students more or less flat out ignore it until you get right up in their faces. Even then it only lasts for a half second. But then, things could be much worse, so I can’t really complain.
My teaching methods vary widely from class to class depending on the actual French teachers’ desires, my students’ personalities, and their skill level. One teacher whom I have multiple times per week prefers me to do the same kinds of oral exercises with the students which she does in class, meaning reading an article and summarizing it/giving an opinion as per the style of the big exam these students have at the end of this year. In other words, those classes aren’t the most fun for me or the students, and even though they SHOULD be dead useful, the students don’t seem to feel nervous yet about the exam (who can blame them so far in advance?) and thus are not particularly keen on the practice sessions. Other classes tend to have me doing…well…pretty much whatever I want. Most of my classes are tiny–between three and 10–but I do have one class where the teacher literally gives me about half the students at a time, which is 17, which is kind of a lot since that is the most talkative and disruptive class. (Also because the classroom I have been given is the size of a pea and didn’t really have enough space for the extra desks the students had to bring in. Might work on that.)
So far lessons have been mostly getting-to-know-you based with hints of pop culture and holidays (AKA Halloween) thrown in there to mix it up. I literally have 12 classes of students, so there are a lot of faces and names going around. I did teach my most advanced group a lesson on satire, however, using an article from The Onion and a bit of Jon Stewart. They got the article with a little help and had a great discussion about the uses and effectiveness of satire after, but the Daily Show clips were a bit harder just because of the rapid-fire speech. I sort of assumed that would happen, buuut I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use that as a teaching material. In any case, these lessons have more or less gone well, I think because the students still find me to be fascinating, like a shiny new toy–so they’re still too interested to pull shenanigans or stop paying attention. Going to ride that wave as long as I can. One group apparently reported back to their regular teacher afterwards that I seemed incredibly pleased and laughed a lot–true story, but I couldn’t help it, I had them describe a costume they would wear to a Halloween party and the results were hilarious.
When I’m not teaching I’ve been sort of busy A) going to my gym, Reebok Crossfit Louvre (I am a recent convert but full-on lover of the crossfit regime) and B) Trying to sort out all kinds of nonsense with my bank and some other laundry-list items, which are just continually providing me with new headaches. Shock, surprise…However, yesterday I did manage to take some time for myself and went for a lovely 3.5 hour walk. I roamed a lot of my district to get to know it better, and even made it to the one next door-the 13th Arrondissement- down to a very large traffic circle called Place d’Italie and back. It was a gorgeous, crisp fall evening with a perfect sunset glowing on all the buildings. On my way home I splurged a bit and decided to try out my closest Lebanese Sandwich shop as I always get mad cravings for Levantine Arabic food when I haven’t had it in too long…my quality test for an Arabic restaurant circles around the hummus and bread (my favorite), which is what I ordered, and this place passed with flying colors. I was in heaven. And they were even speaking Arabic when I went in…so you know I’ll be back there any time I need a little comfort from my second home.
Right, I think that’s enough jabber for one day, don’t you? Tomorrow I embark on an entirely new journey as I go to visit a good friend in Ulm, Germany for a few days. This should be exciting, people!