The last weekend of March, I took a trip to southwestern France to visit a friend of my high school French teacher.  The main reason was to observe her using TPRS in the classroom (mentioned briefly here) and to talk to her about it, but also to see a different part of France, and one that’s NOT a big city!  This country girl has been hurting for some wide-open spaces.

Port-Sainte-Marie, where the teacher lives, is marked in red.  It's really near Agen and between Toulouse and Bordeaux.

Port-Sainte-Marie, where the teacher lives, is marked in red. It’s really near Agen and between Toulouse and Bordeaux.

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Categories: Teaching, Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Giving private tutoring lessons in France

I knew I wanted to give private English lessons in France on the side to help make some extra moolah, since I don’t make tons of money working only 12 hours a week.  Shocking, I know.  Here’s what I’ve learned about it so far!

Finding students

All of us assistants, myself included, had high hopes for finding students online using sites like KelProf.com and Cherche-Cours.com.  Unfortunately, we were nearly all disappointed.  I don’t think any of my friends have found any jobs through those sites; there are just so many English-speakers in Nice that there’s no shortage of English teachers.  I did find one student through Cherche-Cours, but after I went on vacation he dropped off the face of the earth… not sure what happened there!  I also got an email from one other person seeking a teacher, but in the email the site notified me that she had emailed five people at one time, so it’s not like she had handpicked me or anything.  I opted not to message her back because by then I already had three students and she didn’t speak ANY English, so it would be starting from the beginning, which is a hugely daunting task.  My disappearing student was starting from the beginning as well, which made for a lot of work on my end, so I’m kinda glad he just stopped emailing me back and showing up for lessons.  Hope he’s okay…

Update: Since leaving France, I’ve gotten several emails from Kelprof/Cherche-Cours (Can’t remember which.  Maybe both.) with requests from students for lessons.  So maybe just be patient and the students will come!

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Categories: Assistant Helpful Information, Teaching | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

My Teaching Duties

You asked for it, you got it!  “My teaching duties” had the most votes in the poll at the right (you can still vote, by the way!  I’m always adding new options as I think of them!), so it must be what you all want to hear about!

If I had to sum up my experience teaching here in two words, they would be FUN and FRUSTRATING.  Teaching the kids is really fun- I’m a welcome change from their normal teacher and subjects, so the students generally like it when I teach, and I get to do a lot of cool topics.  For example, recently I’ve done several lessons on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  However, it is also frustrating.  When I was a student teacher, I felt on top of my game.  I knew all my students, I knew exactly when I was going to be in class every day, and I was mostly in charge.  Here… it’s pretty much the exact opposite.  I do have a weekly schedule, but it’s constantly changing, and I have so many students that it’s basically impossible to learn any of their names, which I hate.  Plus, it’s difficult to get to know any of my students or classes well because I’m only with them one hour a week, if that.  I’m working on it though, which allows me to tailor lessons to a class’ specific interests and ability level.  For example, I know I’ve had at least one class in the past that’s all musicians and dancers… once I figure out which class that was, I would LOVE to do a lesson tying into that, like a Christmas lesson all about music!

Sunset, taken from the courtyard of Massena.  The hill in the background is the Chateau.

Sunset, taken from the courtyard of Massena. The hill in the background is the Chateau.

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Categories: Teaching | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

Lycée Masséna

Short French lesson: lycée means high school!  You say it like lee-say.

I’m not really sure where to start with this post/where it’s going to go.  I could talk about my school in particular, show photos, try to explain the French school system, or talk about my teaching duties… I guess I’ll just start writing and choosing pics and see where it goes 🙂

To start, some photos of my school…

In order to get in, there is someone sitting behind the counter just inside the first door, and then a sliding glass door.  My first day, I asked if I needed a badge or anything to get in, and the teacher I was with said no, the person there just recognizes the students… not sure how that’s possible in a school of 1600 students, but whatever.  Every day I just nod at the person behind the window and the door opens!

View from the front.

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Categories: Differences between France and the US, Life in France, Teaching | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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