It's the little things

Trip Start Sep 26, 2011
Trip End May 06, 2012

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Flag of France  , Rhône-Alpes,
Monday, February 13, 2012

This past week has been absolutely amazing. A weekend in Paris; shopping and eating. (I tell you every time I go to Paris, I love it more and more. Maybe I should start looking for graduate schools there...?!) Then a week of work; lessons, presentations, etc. Most people would ask, why I would love a week of work, especially this week being absolutely busier than any other week of the year. Let me tell you: 

On Tuesdays, I work all day from just before 8am to just after 4pm at a primary school in Meylan. The teachers are absolutely welcoming and the director is a crazy, American music obsessed middle-aged man. Last week, I received an email from one of the teachers at this school, asking if I would like to be part of a teacher crepe party during the lunch hours on Tuesday. And the reason they are asking me is because they feel I am one of them: "nous t'avons comptee parmi nous"! Not to mention, this day couldn't be topped even more, by a young girl, telling me "you are pretty". (And I know I didn't teach her that!) and another young girl (this one is bilingual), telling me "I like your up-do!" :) 

A British friend of mine has been working for high schools. One of her duties as an assistant is to create presentation and lessons for her English students about culture, politics, economics, etc. of anglophone countries (i.e. United Kingdom). But just to change it up for a bit, I agreed to come in for one of her classes as a "special guest", so that her students could ask an American about any of these subjects. Needless to say, the one hour with the students was so much fun, but I hardly got asked a question by the students. The French professor was more interested in talking about his "two years in America" and asking me his own questions that he hardly let a student say a word! Also, he continued to complement me on my "beautiful accent". "Americans speak so well, just listen to her talk. You can understand each word very clearly." 
So after his continued ranting about his time in America and asking me about the economy and what I see different between France and America, the students finally got to ask me questions. This included, what are the differences between French boys and girls and American boys and girls? Why do they call a "quarter pounder with cheese, a quarter pounder with cheese"? (After explaining, the size of my parent's home and the number of bathrooms in it: Is your father Bill Gates? Can you say something in French for us? etc. etc. 

Wednesdays, I tutor a high school student mostly in conversation English with a bit of work on grammar. We've been doing mock debates to help her with her English class debates. She told me on Wednesday that my lessons have helped her confidence in class and she is able to participate more often! 

Thursdays, I normally work at another elementary school in Meylan, but this week, I was specially chosen by the Isere Inspector of Education Office to present with three other primary assistants at a mini conference for French teachers who teach English. We each presented on our respective countries and then played a game with the French teachers. Yes, I got to treat a classroom of French teachers, as if they were my 8 year old, French students. That will never happen again in my life. What a thrill. Additionally, my boss has been recording my voice for a new English learning website that the office is creating for all teaching in the Isere Department. On this website, students and teachers will be able to listen to English speakers speak vocabulary, read stories, sing songs, play games, etc. I'll have to ask them for a weblink when it's been developed. Who knew that my voice would be used as an online teaching tool for young French students! 

And Friday, two of teachers at one of my schools, asked me to come in on Friday to assist with an "English breakfast". The teachers made bacon and eggs, toast with honey and jam, coffee, hot chocolate, tea, cereal with milk, and I made a batch of silver dollar pancakes for all 50+ students! It was probably the busiest 2 hours I've had to work this year, but what a thrill to watch my students eating and chatting together. Part of the breakfast was an activity, where the students had to ask each other what they ate/drank and then write down what they liked/disliked about the breakfast. I love watching their English improve, however spelling was another issue. I've never seen "bacon" and "pancakes" spelled wrong so many times: "becon" and "pan kacs". 
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