Last trimester

La rentrée has been a little difficult for me. My schedule changed so now I work all day long Thursday & Friday, but only afternoons on Tuesday and every other Wednesday morning. My school is currently doing the bac blanc which means some of my classes are cancelled because the students are doing the practice exams. The problem is that no one tells me this before I arrive. For example, Friday I was supposed to have class at 10 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. However, the first two classes were cancelled. This wouldn’t have been such a problem if I didn’t live an hour away from the school, but it’s not like I could have gone home and come back later… I just sat around the teacher’s lounge and attempted to find more speaking activities on the internet for my BTS students, but I was so tired and annoyed that I didn’t accomplish much.

It’s a little frustrating being just an assistant and not the real teacher. I would prefer to have the same students all year so that I can see how much they progress. And it’s especially hard when you don’t know what the students have already learned or what activities they have already done in class. I need more control and stability or I don’t feel like I can be much help to the students.

A class that I just started working with this week is absolutely adorable though. It’s a seconde level class of eight international students from Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Bolivia, Kosovo and Albania. These kids are so motivated! Their level of English is lower than other seconde classes, but their pronunciation is already really good. They constantly participate in class and genuinely want to learn English. It’s so refreshing to finally see that. And funny that my best students in France are not at all French.

Freedom of speech, anyone?

I’m annoyed by this. France bans naming teachers on school-rating website PARIS (AFP) — A French court on Monday ordered a website that allows pupils to rate their schools to stop naming teachers, after the country’s educational establishment denounced it as “public lynching”. The website, www.note2be.com, which opened late January based on similar sites that […]

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Day trip 2: Lyon

Another day trip! This time it was to Lyon, the former capital of Gaul. As soon as we arrived, Jessica & I jumped on the over-priced tramway (1,50 €) and headed straight to Le Centre d’Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation. We were there for over two hours and didn’t even hear the […]

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Random news about France…

Gastronomy: Sarko declared French food the best in the world and wants it recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Umm, how does food qualify as a place? And is anyone else really sick of people saying French food is better than all other food? How snobby can you get? Anyway, if you register on […]

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That crazy Sarkozy!

Sarko insulted a random man at the Salon de l’Agriculture yesterday because the man told Sarko not to touch him. Politely translated, the exchange went something like this: Man: Don’t touch me.Sarko: Then get lost.Man: You disgust me.Sarko: Get lost, poor jerk! (Sarkozy actually said casse-toi and pauvre con, which can be much more rudely […]

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Chamonix & Mont Blanc

Lucy & I decided to take a day trip to Chamonix yesterday. We’ve lived in the Alps for a year and a half, but still haven’t actually seen much of the Alps… So after two hours and three trains, we made it to Chamonix, which was surprisingly warm for February. Then after another hour of […]

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Want to be a flight attendant?

I honestly hate Delta Airlines because they left me stranded in Kentucky a few summers ago and wouldn’t pay for my hotel, but if you speak French and want to be a flight attendant, they are desperate for you! Delta is a part of the Sky Team Alliance, so it’s partnered with Northwest, Air France, […]

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French shopping my way

To encourage my agoraphobia even more (ok, I’m not really agoraphobic, I just hate people and I hate shopping), I ordered LaRedoute and 3Suisses catalogs so I could shop from home. I could just as easily shop from their websites, but I prefer looking through real pages rather than adding even more minutes hours to […]

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On learning and teaching

I cracked open my French vocabulary books after a much-too-long break from them, and rediscovered why I love learning new words. Vocabulaire expliqué du français; niveau intermédiaire begins with a chapter on prefixes and suffixes, which are mostly the same in English thanks to Latin. But there was one prefix I didn’t know in French: […]

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Buying furniture in France, or why I miss dad’s big blue truck

We had to buy a new sommier (box spring) today because our old one was held up with books. Thank you Harry Potter for not letting our mattress fall to the ground. I’m still amazed at how cheaply-made beds are in France. Thin wood held together with staples, what a genius idea. That wood will […]

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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 January 2010, I started focusing more on teaching and learning languages in general. 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 the university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling (though now my trips are usually in Australia) and being an American abroad.

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