Hindsight is 20/20: Cultural Expectations vs. Reality in the French Classroom

I want to share with you some tidbits, some anecdotes about how my first few weeks working as an English Teaching Assistant in France was quite the struggle because I went to France expecting for things to go the way that they would have in the United States and based on what I thought I knew about the French culture.

My first few weeks in France were amazing. I was back in my second home, rediscovering it, and getting high off all the beautiful architecture, the prospect of discovering a new city, and meeting new friends. However, I had forgotten one important fact: that I was truly in a different country, surrounded by locals, whose expectations of communication, perception of language and communication, and of how life in general works were completely different from my own.

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Hindsight is 20/20: What to bring and not to bring to the French classroom

Becoming a teaching assistant in France means that you will have the amazing opportunity to teach local students and teachers about your native language and culture. If you are anything like me, sometimes this means that you are going to want to bring everything from your home country to show them and to use in your varying lessons. In my personal experiences and in the experiences of fellow assistants, my best advice that I can give you is that the less you bring the better. Here are the following reasons why:

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Playing around in Bristol, England, discovering a city forgotten by people outside of the locals

 

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Being ever so slightly ashamed to admit this, the only thing that I had ever known about Bristol, England was that the British TV Series Skins takes place there. That was about it. However, this is not the reason as to why I decided pay Bristol a visit, nor should it be yours either, if you’ve seen the series. Or at least it shouldn’t be your main reason.

It appears to me as though this city is often forgotten by my fellow travelers or not known about at all. The locals definitely agreed when shocked to see Americans traipsing about her streets. She may be forgotten, but she’s worth a visit because she shows you a different side to the country. That image of your mind of what English culture is like does not fit here, my friends.

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Did France even happen: disorientation through readjustment

I knew that I’d face reverse culture shock. That was a given. What I did not expect was how quickly I would readjust back to American culture and being back home.

I’m a little disoriented. I’m thankful for my summer job, bartending at the brewery that I worked at before I left for France, but I’m working so much that I forget that I was even in France. Did France even happen?

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