I finally started work last week!!
So to revise: I’m an English Language Assistant with the TAPIF program. What that means: I’m never supposed to be in a classroom alone with all 20 plus students and I’m not allowed to grade students. Really I’m here to be useful with my native American accent and my cultural perspectives.
My first week in the classroom was technically supposed to be observation, but I had an introduction powerpoint saved to my Google Drive that included my hobbies, where I was from, my family, favorite tv shows, movies, and food so several of the teachers had me present that to the class.
I definitely got a lot of reactions on the tv show/movie/food slides because then I was able to ask students what their favorites were.
Some things tend to be universal:
–People in France don’t believe yoga is a real sport either. (Because I’d always reply with “yoga” when they asked me what my favorite sport was. Sorry kids it is quite real!)
–Game of Thrones. Because well, come on, dragons:
–And even French kids apparently find Steak Tartare (my favorite French food) disgusting, but tacos are universally appreciated.
While there were several cultural differences in the classroom, what was most notable is how students can’t sit down in their seats before the teacher gives them permission. From what little I’ve seen so far I would say the French tend to be a little more authoritarian in their teaching, but then again maybe the teachers I work with are just strict?
BUT they do grade out loud, which is interesting to me. No hidden grades. When a student was giving an oral presentation the teacher took the time at the end to critique him and tell him what he did wrong rather than making notes and moving onto the next student.
The students all seemed to ask me or the teacher one question in particular though:
Student: “Madame, does Emily understand French?”
Teacher: “No, she doesn’t.”
Same Student looks at me: “Miss! Do you understand French?” (half the time this question was also in French)
Me: … Let me ignore that question and turn back to my PowerPoint so I don’t have to lie to you.
(Okay eventually during the week I just gave up and told them I did speak French. It was too difficult to pretend anyways! But I am there to speak English and it is technically English class so they need to be speaking English too)
Soon at the middle school I’ll start to get small groups of hardworking students to work with on anything I want/varying subjects from detective stories to job interviews.
Next week however… is vacation. Yes, you read that right. I will technically have worked for two full weeks and now I have two full weeks of vacation for La Toussaint. (All Saints Day/November 1st)
So on Saturday I’m headed off to Scotland (again) to visit my dear friend Hannah. ❤ I haven’t been to Glasgow yet, but I’m looking forward to all the curry chips (fries) and scones I’ll get to eat all week long. Then I have no idea what I’ll be doing the second week of the break, maybe I’ll just hop around France? If you have any ideas let me know!!