Category Archives: Teaching Assistantship

Bad news but in a nice way

By   July 12, 2007

After sending countless e-mails to the rectorat of Grenoble, I finally sent a few to people who work specifically for Haute-Savoie. I was told I haven’t been renewed and all the posts are already taken, which I assumed would happen. But at least they were nice about it:

Tous les postes sont pourvus pour le moment, j’ai verifie que vous etiez bien sur la liste. On vous contactera des que des demissions auront lieu et ce sera probablement en septembre. En tous cas vous avez priorite sur les recrutes locaux, il y a donc toutes les chances pour que vous ayez quelque chose. Si vous n’avez toujours rien en septembre refaites-moi un message.
Bonnes vacances

Basically, I’m on the waiting list and as soon as someone quits (probably in September), I have a good chance of taking their post. Great. More waiting.

I knew this would most likely be the outcome, but it still hurts. New assistants are supposed to have priority over renewing assistants, which I understand, but then why have some people been able to renew right away with no problems? Especially EU citizens who could easily get different jobs anyway.

As a non-EU citizen, this is the only job I could legally have until I get my CDS vie privée et familiale (in February 2008!) I just don’t understand. All of the teachers loved me and wanted me back. The husband of one of them even works for the Inspection Académique and he couldn’t help me. I wrote letters to the rectorat saying that I’m staying in France anyway and I want to teach ESL as a career, so this is great experience for me. But nothing worked.

I have little hope that someone within an hour of me will quit their job. It’s not like I’m going to attempt to commute 2 or 3 hours to a school, or move somewhere else in the académie.

The application for the 2008-2009 school year will be up in October. Hopefully we’ll be in Quebec by the end of 2008 though.

Les Nouveaux Assistants

By   July 5, 2007

I still read the forums at everyday, seeing if I can answer any questions about the program. Recently I discovered the Facebook group too (when did Facebook get so annoyingly popular??) so now I’m spending even more time not doing the things I should be doing, a.k.a improving my French. But if I can prevent anyone from being as stressed as I was when I first arrived here, I’m glad to do it.

It seems that a lot of the new assistants in Grenoble are receiving their work contracts, except for Haute-Savoie. I’m desperate to find out if anyone got my school(s) or has decided to not come. I need this job.

Tonight I e-mail the rectorat. I’ll call in a few days if I get no response. I’m dreading their response, however.


By   May 3, 2007

I said goodbye to a lot of good friends this past weekend. They’re all returning to their home countries soon. Fortunately not everyone had to go. The lucky EU citizens can stay here as long as they’d like, so my British and Irish friends are still sticking around for the summer.

Monday was my very last day of work. The first class didn’t show up and the second class was fine. It was a rather uneventful last day. I received a few presents last week: Savoy candy, Les Expressions Savoyarde en B.D., and cards signed by the students.

I’m not really sure what to do with myself now that I’m unemployed. I try to work on my website as often as possible, but it’s hard to just sit here and type all day. I’m a little preoccupied with my trip back home too. I’ll be in London in 3 days and the US in 5 days.

Tomorrow I plan on packing all day and then Saturday is David’s and my 6 month anniversary. We don’t really have anything planned except going to bed early since I have to take the 7 am bus to Geneva on Sunday morning.

My list of things to do and things to buy in the US keeps getting longer. Sometimes I can’t believe how expensive some things are in France (12 € for sunblock?!?) but then I remember how expensive some things are in the US ($20,000 for one semester of university?!?) Overall, it seems that Europeans have it better since essential things like education and healthcare are affordable. I will gladly pay extra for the little things in order to have health insurance. I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that 45 million Americans have no health insurance, which is more than the entire population of Spain.

No work

By   March 26, 2007

For the fifth time in 10 weeks, my first class on Monday was cancelled and no one told me. The teacher even told me last week that the second class would be cancelled, but that the first one would be there. I actually don’t really mind though because it gave me an excuse to be outside in the afternoon (the weather is really nice again). And I really shouldn’t complain since I will still be paid the same, regardless of how many hours I actually worked.

Even though I’m tired of dealing with my teenage students, I will really miss this job after April. And having an income. I feel so bad that David has to work two jobs just to be able to afford his own bills, and now he’ll have to support me as well during the summer since I won’t have the right to work in this country.

And even when I do get the right to work, there’s no guarantee I will be able to find a job easily. My biggest concern is that I won’t be able to speak French well enough. I do plan on studying French very intensively during the summer (especially since I will have nothing else to do…), but I wonder how much I will learn on my own. I know I should take some conversation classes, but that costs money. Money that I must save for rent and food.

At least I think we will be ok through the end of June. We’re giving notice to the rental agency that we’re moving in 3 months. I do like this apartment, but David and I want to live by ourselves. It will be difficult to find a new place though since CAF most likely won’t help us anymore starting in July. At least they’re giving us 130 € from April to June though.

Vacation already?

By   October 22, 2006

I have two weeks of vacation coming up: les vacances de Toussaint. I don’t work again until November 6. I don’t know if I’ll go anywhere since I still haven’t been paid, but it’s nice to have a vacation already! I might go to Grenoble to visit a friend, or maybe Lyon because I’ve heard it’s so pretty. And possibly Geneva, but it’s so expensive!

I should be getting wireless internet soon so I can use my laptop (goodbye confusing French keyboard), as well as a printer/scanner so I can do more work at home. Teaching is still pretty easy, and in some classes I only have the students for 25 minutes each, so I have to prepare really short lessons. At least at the middle school I’m trying to follow along in their textbook, but I’m not sure what to do at the high school. The students don’t have textbooks so I’m free to choose whatever I’d like to do, but I don’t know what would be best for them.

When I was in school in the States, I absolutely hated eating in the cafeteria. The food was so horrible and greasy and fatty. Here in France, food in the “cantine” is amazing. We even get real plates and silverware. I look forward to eating lunch in the middle school every week. And there are no vending machines so students can’t fill up on chips and pop. Everyone must drink water. And we have 1.5 hours for lunch instead of just 30 or 40 minutes. It’s so much healthier.

Going to Grenoble on Wednesday was my first experience riding the train alone. It took me 4 hours to get back to Annecy thanks to cancelled and late trains though. I really wish I had a car here… I feel as though I’m stuck because the buses don’t run regularly after 8 pm and barely at all on Sundays. However, there is nothing to do on Sundays here anyway since everything is closed.

At least the weather is still pretty nice. I love how warm it is for the end of October. Let’s hope this winter is mild too…