Hindsight is 20/20: Logistics in the French classroom

Not only do you need to do a bit of research on how the French school system works and preparing yourself mentally before you start working in the classroom, you also need to keep in mind that as a language assistant, you will need to access tools and materials so that you can probably teach and get involved with your lessons.

In my first few weeks as a teaching assistant, there were so many awkward situations and struggles that I experienced simply because I assumed either that people would tell me the important information that I would need to know or assumed that because I was only an assistant that I wasn’t allowed access to certain tools, such as the computers/copy machine and having access to the classrooms when I needed them. This led me to having to borrow keys from fellow teachers because I assumed that I wasn’t allowed to have keys to the classrooms or having to borrow other teachers’ pass codes to the computer because no one told me that I had my own personal code or that I was even allowed to have one. Again, this led to many awkward situations. So, as a language assistant, you should be prepared to just simply ask for things and consider getting access to certain things so as to avoid embarrassing and awkward situations. If the answer is no, at least you know the answer and you don’t have to always deal without something that you could potentially use or with being unsure.

So, it is my advice to you to ask for the following if you aren’t old upfront when you first start teaching.

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Hindsight is 20/20: Cutting costs on daily living in France

Moving back to France to teach ESL was not only a dream come true, but one of my main goals of moving back to Europe was to travel as much as possible, especially because of how much vacation time I expected to have. Traveling means having to spend money, and the more money that I could save on everyday living expenses, the more that I could travel. So, it is known that language assistants don’t make all the money in the world, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t manageable. So, for all of my fellow language assistants out there, I wanted to share with you how I managed to save money on everyday costs so that I could travel to 11 countries (including France) and 29 cities on my humble assistant salary.

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Hindsight is 20/20: 5 ways to make friends while living abroad

Let’s be honest. You will be moving to a new country, and if you have been to France before, it’s very likely that you will be moving to a new city, instead of the one in which you lived before (if you’ve studied abroad or anything like that before. If you were so lucky to get placed in the city in which you studied, congratulations. You’re one of the few lucky ones).  Moving to a new place that you don’t know much about is already difficult, adding the prospect of having to meet all new people makes it even harder and scarier.

However, meeting new people doesn’t have to be scary! It can actually be really exciting and eye-opening. You might end up being friends with people that you would’ve never imagined you would be and learning so much more about life, culture, and yourself because of the friends you end up making.

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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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