11 October 2012

The main reason I've come to France

I don’t think France likes me very much, as I’ve now lost 4 things in the past week. Last Saturday, an Aldi trolley refused to give me back my 1€ coin when I plugged it back into the other trolley; the washing machine gobbled up one of my favourite socks on Monday; on Tuesday a teacher stole my favourite biro; and I’ve just arrived home from the lycée work to realise that the computer forgot to remind me to take out my memory stick, thus leaving me USB-less for the foreseeable future. Quite worried about which precious item of mine this country’s going to target next.

So I’ve now had my first week as an assistant where I wasn’t just ‘observing’, but actually had to stand in front of the class and talk (albeit I only ended up doing 6 hours of lessons instead of 12). As I wrote in my previous post, the English department at the collège where I work on Tuesdays was being inspected that very day. It turns out that teachers tend only to get inspected once every five to ten years, just my luck. Needless to say, the teachers were all rather stressed. I had to do a lot of acting and role-playing in the classes in front of the inspectors, but the teachers were all hugging and kissing me and the kids now all say hi to me as I walk past them in the playground and the canteen, so I must have done something right. I really enjoy it at the collège; all the staff are so welcoming, the pupils are very friendly, and the school dinners are yummy and totally French.

The lycée is very different; the lessons are much less structured, the pupils are less enthusiastic, and despite the fact that they’re older than those at the collège, their English is weaker. So I’m going to have to get used to talking in English very slowwwwwly. That’s not to say I don’t still enjoy it there, I do. Also, Alfredo (the Mexican assistant who lives in Melle) works at the lycée the same day as me, which is nice to have. He’s easier to talk to than the teachers as well, so I get to practice talking French more.

Apart from work, I haven’t actually been up to very much at all these past few days. The weather has been rubbish for the past week (as in I got woken up by a storm this morning, and there has been some of the heaviest rain I’ve ever seen), so I haven’t exactly been venturing out around town or exploring the rest of the region. It is autumn now, I guess, so I shouldn’t be too surprised. The autumn leaves are beginning to look quite pretty though:

Melle in autumn


  1. Yeah I was totally wrong about lycées. I think I was assuming it'd be the same as my sixth form college, forgetting that I went to a place that boasted itself as being 'one of the best in the country'. The students are generally well behaved though easily distracted, but their level of English isn't as high as I expected it to be.

    1. I know! It's way off what I expected; I thought the collège would be the challenge, but it's definitely the lycée. Are you in a lycée prof?