22 Things You’ll Only Understand If You Were A Language Assistant In France
Every language assistant’s experience of teaching in France is different. But there are some things that everyone understands.
1. You arrive on your first day worried that you definitely don’t speak enough French to do this.
2. And feeling genuinely concerned that they won’t know who you are or why you’re there.
Not helped by the blank look on the school receptionist’s face when you finally pluck up the courage to introduce yourself.
3. For the first couple of weeks you are a kind of celebrity within the school.
A real life, actual English-speaking person just like in the movies.
4. And you’re frequently asked whether you personally know the queen or David Beckham.
5. You stand in front of your first class and only then realise that you’re not a qualified teacher.
6. So you just have to pretend.
You are now an actor as well as a language assistant.
7. The classrooms themselves are stuck in a time warp.
8. And there’s a lot of confusion surrounding whether your pupils should call you by a title or by your first name.
And you are also unsure about how you feel either way.
9. You are advised to only speak in English during your classes.
But when you do, nobody understands what you’re saying.
10. You are both impressed and slightly scared by the fact that everyone drinks wine in the staff room every single day.
11. You made the mistake of asking what English words your pupils already know.
Many of them know more English swear words than you do.
12. You use the promise of playing ‘pendu’ as a bribe for good behaviour.
13. But quickly learn that if you let the game get too exciting all hell will break loose.
When you imagined teaching in France, you didn’t imagine breaking up full-blown arguments over who won the last round of hangman.
14. You will undoubtedly be asked to make the heaviest of topics as fun as possible.
15. You will also regularly be asked questions about English grammar for which you have no answer.
Because apparently you don’t speak English all that fluently either…
16. You thought only working 12 hours per week would mean that you could visit a lot of places.
17. And you thought that earning money would mean you could afford things.
Until you realised how much tax you would be paying.