This is a question I was asked incredibly (and slightly annoyingly) frequently in the months leading up to my departure. After giving the best (and same) answer to most of you, I still had no real clue myself as I wouldn’t start working until the 1st (or in fact, the 7th) of October.
So, after having worked for the past month, I thought it a good idea to fill you in on what I’ve been doing…
First and foremost, I’ve been teaching. I work in a school called Cité Scolaire Julie Daubié which is in a really little town but which is really big (about 2000 pupils) as it serves large portions of the surrounding area.
The pupils are really really well behaved. In fact, the only blip in this fantastic stretch of niceness was Tuesday when I had to kick one guy out. He was a douche though.
For teaching twelve hours per week (I’m not allowed to do any more) I get paid over €790. I know. So by the end of this year I will be minted. No this doesn’t mean I’ll buy you a drink, you have to impress me for that to happen.
I love teaching but it really does wear me down quickly. One lesson can leave me totally drained and not because it’s been a particularly strenuous topic or set of pupils, it’s just the physical act of teaching I find to be my kryptonite.
I’m also slowly doing my voice in, which is no fun in the slightest. After having over 3 months of trouble with it last summer, I don’t relish a re-run of my plagued oesophagus. That’s right, I used a long word.
As I only teach for twelve hours each week, I find myself with huge portions of free time. This suits me just fine – the internet; most notably YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and BBC News; has become a drug for me (see previous blogs such as: E-warrior, It’s 2000 an’ frickin’ 9 man!, Pomplamoose, and I Have No Life? (please note the question mark at the end of that last blog title!). I’ve also fallen in love with some TV series. Everyone who had the slightest twinge of affection for High School Musical MUST watch Glee. Not that it’s anything too much like HSM for those of you who are allergic to the Effron, Glee is also a fantastic comedy with some jokes worthy of Anchorman recognition. To really give you an idea of why it’s so fantastic though, imagine the scene: six high school pupils have been told that they won’t be allowed to perform in their choir. To prove people wrong, they choreograph a brilliant and heart warming rendition of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ (yes, that song which was so recently murdered on the X-Factor*) I could hardly breathe with excitement and sheer joy. Call me sad – I don’t care, I’m gleeful.
Apart from staring at a screen all day, I have been reading. First of all, my Bible – I’ve started at both the beginnings (Genesis and Matthew) again and it’s a real pleasure to put my three highlighters to good use. Secondly, the previously mentioned ‘Talk To The Snail’ which I found incredibly helpful and enlightening – a definite must read for any English language assistant in France (yes you can borrow my copy). Next I found an old copy of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ in the apartment which was left by a particularly generous previous assistant. Now, I’d seen the film and I generally knew the story but I’d never before got down to reading the book. I adored it. Harper Lee is a new hero of mine! If you’ve never read it – you must. It’s the law. I’m now re-reading Susannah Clarke’s ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ which I adore.
Meeting up with the other English Language Assistants is very fun – I love it! Last Saturday we all had a fantastic gourmande experience at Jo’s. While struggling to hear ourselves think and trying to keep our core body temperatures below 50 degrees Celsius, we all had a great time (ta muchly JoJo!)
When we next meet up for a training day, I’m reliably informed (hear that Geraldine? You’re a reliable source) that it’s the release date for New Moon. We Vampire Enthusiasts of the English Assistantship will flock en masse to the cinema to feast our eyes, the girls on that despicable Cullen character and myself on— well that would be telling now wouldn’t it? (you know @willminey)
Skyble Frible Zeit:
Merging the two above points together, I’ve been meeting and tele-communicating with people to study said Bible. These sessions are named Skyble (SKYpe biBLE) and Freible Zeit (FREnch bIBLE time) Zeit is the German translation for time, we included it as some German assistants join us. It was most auspicious today as our first Frible Zeit was on the 11th of November – Remembrance Day. Gathered together in one room were four English, one American and two German assistants. It was a fantastic picture of heaven’s peace and a tribute to the global gospel of a great God who promises peace.
Hope this answers all of your questions – if you have any more, leave them in the comments and you might just get a blog about them. Who knows, your name could be in a blog title! Shock horror.
*Yes I watched X-Factor. The song was murdered – he missed out on all the opportunities for great high notes. Not that I blame him that much – trying to cover Steve Perry’s voice is no mean feat. I’d forgive him but he also didn’t attempt any high notes when singing ‘The Circle Of Life’ either, even I can get those notes.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE watch this video and buy the song in it! Even if you don’t like the song – the money goes to Children In Need. Buy it even if it’s just for the fact that Stephen Fry endorses it at the end of the video. I can’t help as I’m in a different country but YOU CAN. Well most of you anyhow. Get it to UK #1! Buy the song here: http://tinyurl.com/CJBuySong