Life in the Lycée, Life in the Cité

In addition to a general lack of posts on my life in France, I’m noticing a general lack of posts on what I actually do on a daily basis.

Possibly because that has not been a particularly interesting subject of late, given my two week break from work. However, school is back this week, so I figured why not write a bit about what I’ve been doing? After all, there have to be a thousand other ESL teachers scouring blogs for ideas or communal experiences of exasperation to make themselves feel better. Along the same lines, might as well tell you what daily life is like when I’m not doing things and stuff that are interesting.

Note: This means the photos on this post are kind of irrelevant to this post. But as we all know, I hate photo-less updates. So we’ll pretend. (But like…not that I teach at the Moulin Rouge. No. Or that I go to the Moulin Rouge with frequency. Let’s just not pretend, actually, and just recognize me inserting random photos.)


Look what I found…

My schedule is whack, first of all, with hours spread out all over and some only every 2 weeks. Classes are hefty on Mondays with a grand total of five–two of which I just met for the first time YESTERDAY–(believe it or not there are still 2 classes later in the week I haven’t met. Whaaat.) and I go from 9-5:30, meaning I roll out of my apartment around 8 AM. Not a terribly long work day in the sense that I only teach 5 of those 9ish hours, but then that means I’m at school for another 4 because of spaced out classes. Irritating. Tuesdays I either have 3 or 4 classes depending on the week, and today was supposed to be one with 3. However, the teacher for my first class failed to call or text and notify me (or anyone, it seems) that she wasn’t coming, so I showed up AT EIGHT IN THE MORNING (meaning I left at 7…got up at 6…) with all of the students only to find her absent. Then I had a two hour break before my next class…but today that teacher only wanted me to monitor a student in a separate room who had to make up a test. So there was another hour of nothing and silence. After that, I had another three hour break until the last class, which I finally did get to teach. Today was a bit of a waste of my time though, I have to say. I was there all day for really nothing. In fact, the second teacher had me monitor the test because several students were supposed to take it, and the officials at school who usually handle that kind of thing can’t take so many students. But only one showed up…sigh.

In any case, today’s lesson went so-so. I did the same lesson I had used for two of my classes yesterday, which went stellar with them. Based on the suggestion of another assistant, I did a lesson revolving around fairytales. I made the students explain to me what a fairytale is, what its purpose is (if any), and of course name a few favorites. Then, I gave them a bit of a sadistic surprise…I put them in groups and assigned them fairy tales to act out. Many outcries of shock, fear, and giggles ensued with each announcement.

I admit I took a certain amount of pleasure in it. I’m a terrible person, I know. But it’s so fun to get the EXACT reaction you are expecting.

Monday’s classes took it all in stride, however, Both groups were a bit younger, and one of the classes (I only receive portions of each class, mind you) was all boys–making Little Red Riding Hood quite amusing. But they had tons of enthusiasm for it, and the class of all boys even used newspaper to make props like Peter Pan’s hat, swords, and Captain Hook’s hook, and had an adorable pretend fight. They were fantastic and had a good time I think. Today’s class, however, was a bit of a let down. In this class I work with the teacher in the same room, so there are maaaany more students. And there are only 2 boys in a class of 24, meaning those two chum together in the back for safety. The class is pretty bright with good vocabularies, and lots of enthusiasm last time I was in there. But too much for today-sort of. They were NOT overly enthusiastic about the activity. I think it was partially that whole teenager “Oh-my-god-this-will-make-me-look-uncool” deal, and partially just that they were unprepared–I think their teacher usually gives them a heads up about subjects so they prepare before coming to class. Some of them didn’t actually know the fairy tales I asked them to act out and either needed help or a change. (But seriously? How do a bunch of French teenagers NOT know Beauty and the Beast? IT’S A FRENCH TALE!) They were, however, enthusiastic about talking. Constantly. Even through their classmates’ performances, no matter how many times the teacher and I told them to hush. It’s a constant problem here I find-the students just really have no respect for the teacher and only listen if they want. Not sure if it’s a France thing or a My School thing.

In any case, they did perform in the end and had a few giggles here and there, but their performances were a bit lackluster with quiet, minimal speaking and acting. I also didn’t get to the second half of the lesson with them, which was taking turns telling a story and then “popcorn”-ing to the next person to continue it.

Can’t win them all, I suppose. I’ll try a different approach next week, and perhaps give them forewarning. Perhaps. Conversation is, after all, supposed to be spontaneous. And conversation is what I teach.

Outside of class my life is generally pretty slow. I spend much time in my room, reading (going through the Golden Compass in French, found it at a used book store for .20 euros) or on the interwebs as usual, or at my crossfit gym. I am indeed a crossfit nut (recently converted, although I’ve known of it for a long time) and the gym I go to here is I think the biggest one in Paris, Reebok Crossfit Louvre, and I love love love it. All of the classes are in French, although if you’re stuck instructors have anywhere from basic to advanced levels in English and can at least get the point across to you–some even speak Spanish and German as well, huzzah for international locations!

Anyway, I go there pretty regularly. On weekends (or during the break) I often see my British friends as well, as evidenced by the Halloween post, etc. It is with them that I often go prancing around the city to places like the street with Moulin Rouge for drinks (see? Tied it in after all!) or to Bastille, etc. I’m hoping soon to start volunteering somewhere or getting a second job (likely extra English teaching) but I have a couple of friends coming for week-long visits each at the end of November, and it would be a poor idea to get a job and then ask for two weeks off I feel. So. We’ll wait.


Have not and probably will not ever go in. Heard it’s incredibly pricey for a pretty poor show, which honestly I wasn’t that keen on seeing in the first place, sooo…

And that’s enough of my banter for one evening, I think. Such is the life of Becky in Paris!


2 thoughts on “Life in the Lycée, Life in the Cité

  1. I have heard the same about Moulin Rouge. I lived in Paris for a couple of years and didn’t ever go. I’ve been told that Crazy Horse is a great show and worth the money.
    Thanks for sharing and nice photos.

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