Vacation is for Working

I’ve been on vacation from the university since Thursday afternoon, but I’m not going anywhere or doing anything special. I’ve actually just been working at my computer everyday. Last night I managed to finish preparing all of my lessons for the rest of the semester (8 weeks left) and wrote a midterm exam. All that is left to do is grade the 50 or so recordings my students did last week. The other big plans for this week are to wash my car and cut my hair. My life is so exciting during the semester!  I should be trying to look for a new job for October, but I really do not want to continue teaching English (unless it’s the same lectrice position, which is highly unlikely) because I’m tired of only thinking and working in English all day. By the time I’m finished with grading/preparing/giving classes in English, I am too tired to focus on other languages.

Working at the computer all day

I know I should be practical about working as an English teacher, because really, what other job in France can I get since I’m a non-native speaker of French and I have no degrees earned from a French university? It’s just depressing to think about never becoming a French teacher and never getting to do what I really want to do in life. And no matter what the next job is that I can find in France, I will be doing twice as much work for half as much pay. Ah, the joys of living in the land of low salaries.

Actually I have been doing other things than just working in English – yesterday I spent hours upon hours collecting the paperwork needed to renew my residency card. I am, of course, missing some of it since I have to wait for one document from Paris, and we need to find a day when David can come with me to the préfecture because he has to sign a document there. I never actually received my new card from June when we moved to Chambéry, and now I’m afraid French bureaucracy will continue to screw me over, which means I will be illegal in France & the EU as of May 7 and the university won’t give me my salary. I can’t wait to start the citizenship process at the end of this year. Knowing that the préfecture could refuse my residency card at any moment because I’ m “only” PACSed and not married to a French citizen has been a nightmare for the past 3.5 years.

Moving on… All I really want to do is study languages and travel and help others learn languages too.  My website lets me do that, but I don’t make nearly enough money to survive with it alone, especially since it’s mostly in dollars. I am trying to finally market it more and I’ve joined a few more social networking sites (look in the right sidebar) to get my site out there. I have pretty decent traffic already since my site has been around for over 10 years (thank goodness I was geeky in high school) but I don’t have any products to sell, which is how bloggers & webmasters make real money. I’m really torn on the idea of selling things though because I don’t think education and business should mix. My site has always been free because I don’t want to deny anyone an education just because they don’t have money.

On the other hand, I am facing unemployment once again and I would love to work on my website full-time. If I didn’t have to work in English everyday, I could accomplish and create so much more. I’ve been thinking about giving French lessons online through language communities and selling e-books & paperback books of my tutorials and other materials I’ve been working on for a long time.  Plus the fact that so many people have been stealing my tutorials and selling them as their own for the past 5 years has really gotten to me. Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s free for the taking and you can make money off of it!  It’s impossible to keep up with all of the pirates on Ebay and Tradebit and report them all. If anyone is going to make a profit off of my hard work, it should be me, right?

Anyway, I should probably stop complaining and get back to work. The weather is getting better (high of 10° C / 50° F this week!) and I have plenty of cheap trips coming up in May & June to look forward to, plus I get to see friends from back home. Living in France may be frustrating to me sometimes, but living in Europe is still pretty nice.

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  • http://www.destinationeurope.com.au/ Andrea

    I make a full time living from the advertising on my websites. I really think you could too, seeing as you have so much information on your site and 1000s of indexed pages. With the right placement of ads and more direct promotion of related products, I think you could easily double or triple your income. Not that you asked for my opinion but anyway…
    .-= Andrea´s last blog ..Burn Baby Burn Workout =-.

  • http://www.destinationeurope.com.au Andrea

    I make a full time living from the advertising on my websites. I really think you could too, seeing as you have so much information on your site and 1000s of indexed pages. With the right placement of ads and more direct promotion of related products, I think you could easily double or triple your income. Not that you asked for my opinion but anyway…
    .-= Andrea´s last blog ..Burn Baby Burn Workout =-.

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com/ Zhu

    Yuck, grading papers and renewing your carte de séjour… doesn’t sound fun!

    I wish I could make a living out of my blog. Well, to be honest, I wish I could make any money from it.

    Sorry you have to deal with people stealing your tutorials… that suck, especially when you put great stuffs online for free!
    .-= Zhu´s last blog ..Ottawa By Night =-.

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com Zhu

    Yuck, grading papers and renewing your carte de séjour… doesn’t sound fun!

    I wish I could make a living out of my blog. Well, to be honest, I wish I could make any money from it.

    Sorry you have to deal with people stealing your tutorials… that suck, especially when you put great stuffs online for free!
    .-= Zhu´s last blog ..Ottawa By Night =-.

  • http://ichestudiolangues.wordpress.com/ Jessica

    That sucks that people were stealing your tutorials and making money from them!
    good luck with everything that is coming up and I hope you can find a way to make more money from your blog!
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..I’ve moved to ichestudiolangues.com =-.

  • http://ichestudiolangues.wordpress.com Jessica

    That sucks that people were stealing your tutorials and making money from them!
    good luck with everything that is coming up and I hope you can find a way to make more money from your blog!
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..I’ve moved to ichestudiolangues.com =-.

  • http://casserdoeufs.wordpress.com/ Lindsay

    That people took advantage of your hard work and good will is horrendous. Education should be available to everyone without having to pay for it, but the world is not a friendly place for idealism. Every year, I lose a bit more of my youthful idealist spirit — this development has its pros and cons. But I think Heath Ledger said it best: If you do something good, never do it for free.
    .-= Lindsay´s last blog ..La mer =-.

  • http://casserdoeufs.wordpress.com Lindsay

    That people took advantage of your hard work and good will is horrendous. Education should be available to everyone without having to pay for it, but the world is not a friendly place for idealism. Every year, I lose a bit more of my youthful idealist spirit — this development has its pros and cons. But I think Heath Ledger said it best: If you do something good, never do it for free.
    .-= Lindsay´s last blog ..La mer =-.

  • Kym

    Thank you for spending so much time to create wonderful web sites for language learners!

    I also use Hot Potatoes to create web-based exercises for my students of Vietnamese, but don’t know which type of authoring tools you used to create audio flash cards. Could you please give me some instructions so I can create the same type of exercises for my students to work on their pronunciation? I am waiting to download “nanogong” because for the last 4 hours, I can’t seem to access the web site. Hope to hear from you soon!

    Thanks,
    kym

  • Kym

    Thank you for spending so much time to create wonderful web sites for language learners!

    I also use Hot Potatoes to create web-based exercises for my students of Vietnamese, but don’t know which type of authoring tools you used to create audio flash cards. Could you please give me some instructions so I can create the same type of exercises for my students to work on their pronunciation? I am waiting to download “nanogong” because for the last 4 hours, I can’t seem to access the web site. Hope to hear from you soon!

    Thanks,
    kym

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    @Kym: I just use Audacity to record and edit the mp3s, and then use a flash player code under each word. The official Hot Potatoes site has a how-to on what code to use: http://hotpot.uvic.ca/howto/audio.htm

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie

    @Kym: I just use Audacity to record and edit the mp3s, and then use a flash player code under each word. The official Hot Potatoes site has a how-to on what code to use: http://hotpot.uvic.ca/howto/audio.htm

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    @Andrea: I didn’t know you had other websites. Is it mostly through advertising of other sites that you make the most money? I’ll e-mail you… I can’t seem to get your blog to load right now. It tells me the server is down.

    @Zhu, Jessica, Lindsay: Thanks guys (I mean, gals). I am losing my idealist spirit too. I think I am going to start charging for the podcasts. I’m tired of doing so much for free when people just take advantage of it anyway.

  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie

    @Andrea: I didn’t know you had other websites. Is it mostly through advertising of other sites that you make the most money? I’ll e-mail you… I can’t seem to get your blog to load right now. It tells me the server is down.

    @Zhu, Jessica, Lindsay: Thanks guys (I mean, gals). I am losing my idealist spirit too. I think I am going to start charging for the podcasts. I’m tired of doing so much for free when people just take advantage of it anyway.

  • http://www.american-in-france.com/ cynthia in chambery

    I have to laugh a little reading the comments. By the time you get to my age, 50, you’ll have almost no idealist spirit left, I hate to say! (Especially if you worked in social services and the nonprofit world your whole life like me – I did start out determined to save the world in my 20’s however). So hold onto the your idealism as long as possible but don’t sacrifice your financial security to do it. Jennie, you have a fantastic, informative site with tons of free info. There is no reason why you shouldn’t charge for the little extras like Podcasts, intensive lesson plans, etc. You would charge for person-to-person lessons, so what’s the difference? Just giving my opinion, as usual! Good luck, Cynthia in Chambery
    .-= cynthia in chambery´s last blog ..Paris, France: Visiting the Orsay Museum (Musee d’Orsay) =-.

  • http://www.american-in-france.com cynthia in chambery

    I have to laugh a little reading the comments. By the time you get to my age, 50, you’ll have almost no idealist spirit left, I hate to say! (Especially if you worked in social services and the nonprofit world your whole life like me – I did start out determined to save the world in my 20’s however). So hold onto the your idealism as long as possible but don’t sacrifice your financial security to do it. Jennie, you have a fantastic, informative site with tons of free info. There is no reason why you shouldn’t charge for the little extras like Podcasts, intensive lesson plans, etc. You would charge for person-to-person lessons, so what’s the difference? Just giving my opinion, as usual! Good luck, Cynthia in Chambery
    .-= cynthia in chambery´s last blog ..Paris, France: Visiting the Orsay Museum (Musee d’Orsay) =-.

  • http://www.public.asu.edu/~ickpl/lsv1/index.htm Kym

    Jennie, thank you for your speedy response. I hope you dont’ mind me asking many Qs.

    I did create many online exercises using Hot Potatoes, but I want to add the features that learners can record their own pronunciation as you did in these exercises:
    http://ielanguages.com/exercises/frbe_have.htm

    I do use Audacity to record MP3 files to use in my online exercises. What type of Hot Potatoes ex. you used in the below ex, JQuiz, JMix, or JCloze? I will check the web page of Hot Potatoes you give. I thought you also use nanogong for learners to record their own pronunciation. I can’t seem to access that web page from Hongkong, though.

  • http://www.public.asu.edu/~ickpl/lsv1/index.htm Kym

    Jennie, thank you for your speedy response. I hope you dont’ mind me asking many Qs.

    I did create many online exercises using Hot Potatoes, but I want to add the features that learners can record their own pronunciation as you did in these exercises:
    http://ielanguages.com/exercises/frbe_have.htm

    I do use Audacity to record MP3 files to use in my online exercises. What type of Hot Potatoes ex. you used in the below ex, JQuiz, JMix, or JCloze? I will check the web page of Hot Potatoes you give. I thought you also use nanogong for learners to record their own pronunciation. I can’t seem to access that web page from Hongkong, though.

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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