Some good news finally. My car still isn’t fixed, but at least I only have 3 days of work left! I work Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and then my second year as an assistant will be over. Technically 7 month assistants work until April 30, but because of the 2 week break (April 12-27), that would mean coming back for one day of work. So I’m doing a few extra hours this week to make up for it. As of 4pm Friday afternoon, I will be officially done!
So what’s next? Good question. I’ll have plenty of paperwork woes to keep me busy for a little while. I’m still gathering all the documents to apply for my CDS vie privée et familiale, I’ll have to send off my passport to be renewed when I get back from Berlin & Budapest at the end of the month, and in May I can start filling out unemployment paperwork. Plus I’ll continue searching for any and every job I can find.
It’s a little strange to keep reading other assistants’ blogs and how they’re preparing to move back home soon. Usually language assistants are temporary workers. They are not meant to stay in France permanently. And that is why my second year as an assistant was not as easy as the first. All of the other assistants will leave this spring, but not me. Once again, I will lose all of my friends here. I will not be going “home” in a few months. I will not be continuing on with graduate school next year. I will not go back to the US to start my real life. My real life is in France.
Except my real life hasn’t actually begun yet. I’m still not sure what to do with my life. But in this land of high unemployment and low salaries, I’ll have to take what I can get. I do enjoy the idea of teaching English since I believe learning languages is the most important thing in the world. But in practice it’s not usually as fun when you have students who just don’t care or who don’t take your class seriously because they know you don’t give grades. Truth be told, I’d rather teach French to Anglophones than the opposite, but I can’t really do that in France, now can I?
Technically, I cannot be an English assistant for a third year as the CIEP only allows two years. I can, however, apply as a recruté local, which is actually the same job as a regular assistant. After the jobs are filled with new assistants and renewing assistants, any remaining posts are filled by recrutement local directly through the académie instead of through the CIEP. I will be sending my CV and lettre de motivation to Grenoble as a last resort, though I would really prefer to have a longer and higher-paying job. I think I’d like to be a lectrice too, except there aren’t many universities around here that teach English and I don’t want to commute an hour to work again…
I’m increasingly jealous of expats who are transferred to France because of their jobs. I would love to have a steady job and income in this country. (Though I’m not so jealous of the fact that most of those expats are paid in US dollars.) I can most likely receive unemployment this summer, but I would much rather work. I would like to not have to worry about money next month or even next year. But it seems like that’s all I do here. I will be so happy when we can stop worrying about paying off our student loans or if we can afford repairs on our cars.
I am really looking forward to finding a full-time job and I’m trying to be optimistic about the future. But it’s a little hard when I constantly hear stories of expats having no choice but to work in the teaching English field. The pay is low or unreliable, the hours are horrible, the focus is usually business (a.k.a boring) English. And whenever I search ANPE, all I can find is soutien scolaire offers, which is basically private lessons at the student’s home and exactly what I do not want to do.
In a perfect world, I would be able to stay home and make a living from my website. But I’m not willing to charge for my language tutorials because everyone should be able to learn, not just people with money. I know a lot of people think I’m dumb for not trying to make a higher income with my site, but I don’t care. I can’t deny people the opportunity to learn languages just because they don’t have a few dollars or euros to give me. That’s so selfish. Languages are much more important than money.