Goodbye Assistantship, Hello Unemployment

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.

The one where Jennie finds out she’s self-employed.

In the midst of trying to figure out my American income taxes, I discovered that I am considered “self-employed in a US business” thanks to the Google Ads on my website. Huh? I’m self-employed? But I don’t even make enough money to break even each month! I had thought my Google payments would just be […]

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Almost April

Our internet was fixed Thursday night. I’m not sure how I managed to live without internet for 12 days, but I did get a lot of work done on my Lesson Plans page and French & German Comparative Tutorial. Some of my classes were cancelled yesterday because parents “sequestered” the teachers in the building as […]

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And it keeps getting better and better…

RIP Renault Super 5. The garagiste said the entire motor needs to be replaced. That would cost more than the 1200 I paid for it. So now I’m out all those euros and an automatic car. I’m so frustrated and angry and just sad. I could barely afford that car, which took four months to […]

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Worst Week Ever

Not a good way to start the weekend. So in addition to the no internet/TV/phone thing, I now have no car. It decided to overheat and leave me stranded on the highway Friday afternoon after I left work. And the weather gods wanted to make things worse, so they made it snow and rain all […]

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Another I hate France day.

No internet for 36 hours chez nous!!! At least we figured out the problem is the ADSL line and not the Freebox. Unfortunately, the helpful customer service people at Free claim they can’t send a technician until NEXT WEDNESDAY. If France Telecom can’t fix it before then, I will be without internet for a while. […]

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Bon PACSiversaire

Happy one year PACSiversary to us! Jij bent mijn hartendief.

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La langue française me rend folle.

Sometimes there are certain aspects of the French language that drive me crazy. Verbs of movement is one example. French does not use adverbs of motion the same way that English does, so it is not possible to translate literally “He ran across the street” into French. Sure, you can say il a couru for […]

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Canaille is confused.

Every time I try to print something… “What is this loud machine?”

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I’m a March hater.

I hate the month of March because it’s so long and boring and just shouldn’t exist anymore. Nothing important ever happens and the weather sucks. I’m just waiting for my job to be over so I don’t have to waste so much money on gas. I’m tired all of the time because of the commute […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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