Thursday, December 6, 2007

Whiney homesick lonely post about Day 74 in silly France.

Sometimes I really question the wiseness of hiring foreigners to teach mandatory parts of the curriculum. I was hired, supposedly, because I'm a native [American!] English speaker, I have a background in education, and I speak French. But as is so painfully obvious among the Americans hired, a background in education and ability to speak French aren't necessarily requirements. But while I speak French, I don't necessarily understand French culture. The French education system is much more complex than what I remember reading in my French civilization textbook. I spend way too much time speaking French in my classes. When I speak English, they don't listen or they laugh at me. Both of those things make me feel awful. I'm coming to terms with my limited French. Just because I've studied it for ten years and spent five months in France doesn't make me fluent or even remotely proficient. I can do what I need and that's about it. I screw up in French all the time. And my students call me on it. It's very disheartening. I know I shouldn't take what they say to heart, that it's not about me; but this trip was supposed to be about me, right? Why have a newbie teacher speak bad French to students to teach them English? I'm just really frustrated lessons didn't go well and I still can't sleep or wake up in the morning. I set two alarms today in hopes that the idea of a "snooze button" may bring me back to my old routines at home. I just don't feel like I'm culturally or linguistically qualified for this job. I don't use the textbooks because they're so confusing. They're written for people who can't speak a word of English to teach English to elementary school students: basic vocabulary, lots of audio supports, lots of pointing and circular vocabulary. But I have to use them because that's what is expected of the students.

Ugh I'm going to stop whining. I'm just not feeling good today. Add to this the number of people who have asked me if I'm going home for Christmas. No. Thanks for asking.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Oh my God, I have had at least one person a day for like the last month ask me if I'm going home for Christmas. And some people have asked me more than once! I feel like a broken record.

I have no idea what it's like to teach in the primary schools... I've been to them once myself. It's got to be stressful for you. And if it makes you feel any better, my students laugh at my English and some of my French. Luckily, they will grow out of it by the time they reach BTS age.