School!

So yesterday I started at the school finally! I had 3 hours of observation yesterday then 4 hours today.  I’m gonna bullet point my experience/observations here so it doens’t all merge into one long ramble!

  1. French schools, or at least mine but I think it can be largely generalised, are seriously behind the times technology wise.  Most classrooms haven’t even moved on to whiteboards let alone interactive whiteboards.   The registers are still done with bits of paper, even in my school which is huge.  (As far as I’m aware, alot of english schools now have a computerised network system for this).  This whole thing is worrying me a bit now in terms of being able to use video/dvd/internet tools, games, sites/ cds/ powerpoints.. all of which I got really used to during my teacher training, and which I know would make lessons so much more exciting.  I don’t even know if they have tvs with videos available?!
  2. Even though C had told me that most of the pupils were pretty bad at english, I thought she’d probably be exaggerating, considering how good europeans are at languages right? I was very wrong.  Some classes are actually very good ability wise.  But some are awful.  One girl didn’t get the word ‘april’ after I repeated it 3 times.  She just didn’t know the word.  The fact is the levels vary hugely.  Which is gonna make my job all the more hard having to adapt lessons to suit both age and ability, even within one class.
  3. There are a lot more girls in my school than boys, at least in my classes anyway.  I haven’t yet come across any overly cocky lads, which was one thing I was dreading.  There does seem to be a certain amount of respect for teachers in that way that you just don’t get at most english state schools.  This also means I’ll have quite a few all girl classes when I take them myself.. which may prove alot more fun in being able to stick to girlie topics, and putting my british cosmpolitan and marie claire magazines to use!
  4. I was introduced to two cool looking people about my age in the staff room, who I think are like student advisors or something.. they live in the library all day.  In fact the librarian is really camp and funny and speaks english, and the library itself is really new and nice with lots of computers so I might just end up spending all my free periods there, either chatting to the two advisor people, or the librarian or just planning lessons.
  5. When I came home yesterday I walked through Pere Lachaise Cemetary and took a few pictures this time 🙂 I think I may well try and walk through there most days on my way home because it is so insanely quiet and peaceful.  It’s completely walled in so it shuts out so much of the city noise, and as a cemetary rather than a park, there are never very many people there.
) I sleep so near to where he sleeps forever!

The god that is Oscar Wilde's grave 🙂 I sleep so near to where he sleeps forever!

 

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin

Balzac

Balzac

 

A very pretty looking Ballerinas grave though Ive no idea whose.

A very pretty looking Ballerina's grave though I've no idea whose.

6. Completely unrelated to school.. I managed to block myself from my flickr account the other day, and after their customer services being no help whatsoever, I’ve just opened a new account.. hopefully it should work okay but yeh, right now I hate Flickr.

This afternoon I FINALLY got my bank card 😀 and subsequently went to get my french mobile.  Which means that actually now, I pretty much have nothing left to do by way of settling in.  I’m still waiting for my phone line in the apartment, but all I can do for that is wait.  So it’s actually rather nice to have this weekend where I have nothing I have to do, and can finally start doing the things I want to do whilst in Paris.

Au Revoir! xx

My Lycée and Apartments!

I visited the school on Friday! Got up about 10am and walked over to Gare du Nord to meet my mum from the train.  Twas only about a 10 minute walk and very busy! Then about 2pm I walked to Catherine’s house.  Was very complicated getting there, lots of little streets; but good to get to know the area.  Her apartment was gorgeous, so cosy and FULL of books! 

We talked a little there about what I’d be teaching and things.  It sounds ideal really.  Apparently the lessons I teach will be a straight hour with each group, separate from their normal lessons.  This is because alot of their exam is speaking so apparently they need as much practice as possible.  Also for the older classes I’ll only have 3 to a class which sounds great and then only 10 for the younger ones which is still very manageable.  She also showed me the timetables of the last 2 years’ assistants and it seems like she tries to group the 12 hours I have to do into 3 days which is great because it means I can spend the whole day at the school on those days and then have 4 days free to do other things.  Not sure yet if I have completely free rein on what I can teach or whether it has to fit withing her topic areas, but even if it does.. one of those is women’s place in history 😀 so that’s all good!

After that we walked up to the school (only about a 10 minute walk from her apartment) and she showed me around and I met some of the teachers.  It seems like a huge school but very friendly and down to earth.  Everyone seemed to know each other and get on well.  There’s a big library so I might be able to borrow french novels from there, and a language multimedia centre I can use for lessons if I book it!  It has suddenly dawned on me that I really need to get my head around some fixed introductions and lesson plans but I think I’ll just focus on apartments for the next few days, then as soon as that’s sorted I’ll get down to work.

So speaking of apartments! When I got back from seeing Catherine, mum and I went to a phone box (mum came for moral support :p) and I called around lots of numbers I’d got from fusac.  From that I set up some viewings.  I also set some up over email from addresses I’d got from fusac. 

Later on mom and I went to a basic little restaurant just down the street from here.  Twas okay, filling food but just okay :p

 

This morning we went to see the first of the apartments.  This one was quite far out and rather cheap (well, for Paris); I wasn’t really thinking of it seriously but I wanted something for comparisons.  I actually didn’t think it was too bad but mom was horrified :p The bathroom was a little grotty.  But I just figured one has to be optimistic and they will be what you make them!

We spent the rest of the morning having a look around the areas of a few of the other apartments.  I’m really enjoying just wandering at the moment and getting to grips with everywhere 🙂

This evening we went to see another apartment near Buttes Chaumont Park and boy was it gorgeous.  The area is lovely.  It’s not right in the centre but it’s still quite bustly and I kind of like that it’s a little more private.  It’s definately at the expensive end but everything is included in the rent and I really have fallen in love with it.  We just have to wait and see now if she choses me over the other people who came to view it.  I really don’t know how that whole choosing thing works.  It seems to totally depend on the landlord whether they are really desperate for you to want the apartment or whether you are really desperate that they choose you as a tenant?! I guess we’ll find out tomorrow!

I shall keep you posted on the apartment hunt!

After that mom took me to a restaurant that she and her best friend went to when they were working in Paris, THIRTY years ago :p It’s called Chartier and it’s definately something to experience, really crowded and hot and basic meals but so so popular… we had to queue to get a table.  It’s like an 18th century majorly upper class dining hall or something.  Very bizaare!

Au revoir! xx