Monday, 12 December 2016

A day in the life of an English Language Assistant | Blogmas Day 12

Last Tuesday, I kept a diary of what I did during a day at work to write a post about a typical day of my year abroad as an English Language Assistant in France, as this is something I'd have loved to know more information about before I started my year.

07.30 - My alarm goes off to get up for work.We always have a late one on a Monday as we often have guests (usually Luke) on a Monday night then Lauren and I both tend to sit up lesson planning / Christmas shopping, so I'm usually knackered when I get up on a Tuesday! 

07.45 - My second alarm goes off. I really need to get up for work.

08.35 - After getting ready and eating breakfast, I have a bit of time to work on a Blogmas post before leaving for work.

09.00 - As I commute to work and it takes about an hour, I leave at 9am to get to the school on time. To get to work, I walk for about 10 minutes to the metro (unfortunately it's a different line to the metro stop that's round the corner from our flat). I travel on the metro outside of Lille and towards Villeneuve D'Ascq, where I work. I then have to get a bus, that drops me off about 10 minutes away from the school. The commute is usually quite pleasant as I just spend it reading. I prefer reading in English on my commute because the metro is underground, so I have no phone signal to look up words or terms that I don't understand in French! I'm currently reading "The Dinner" by Herman Koch.

10.10 - I start my first lesson of the day - a troisième class, so 15-year-olds. At this school, my role is to simply make the kids speak, so I organise activities to encourage conversation. This school are also very casual with what topic my lessons are on, as they prefer me to teach about things I enjoy. This week, I've been doing Christmas lessons. With the 3èmes, I'm doing a Christmas quiz, so I split them into teams and they compete in a Jeopardy style quiz (credit to Jess P for giving me the best website to create the quiz on!) against each other. To earn bonus team points in between questions, we play Christmas Pictionary and Christmas vocabulary tests. It seems to go down very well with the kids and Team Potato wins at the end of the class.

11.10 - I have a bit of time after this class to do boring assistant things, like responds to emails to teachers, photocopy some things for my next lesson and tweaking a couple of things that weren't perfect in the last lesson so that the next one goes better.

12.05 - Lunchtime! Lunches in French schools are SO good. I have tomato soup to start, chicken skewers, rice and tomato sauce for main, followed by cheese, fruit and a chocolate waffle. Divine.

12.45 - Lunches in France last forever - this school gives an hour and a half for the lunch break! One of the English teachers needs help delivering Christmas chocolates to different classrooms that the kids have ordered, so I spent some of the long break running between classes and dropping off bags.

13.35 - Lessons finally begin again. At this time on a Tuesday, I have my ULIS class, which is the class of kids who have disabilities or learning difficulties. It's one of my toughest classes, as I take the full class alone and the kids don't speak a word of English, but it's one of the most rewarding things I'm doing this year. We do a Christmas lesson where the kids learn vocabulary, then there are some games and spelling contests. The children did excellently, especially considering some of them don't even know the word "hello", and all of them now know at least ten Christmas words, and they were all super excited about it.

14.00 - I join one of the English teachers in her cinquième class, aiding in a lesson about fairytales. It's very interesting and I even get the chance to tell them the story of The Snowman when we have a spare five minutes at the end.

14.35 - Final lesson of the day is another troisième class, so I repeat the Christmas quiz lesson. It goes down just as well as with the first class, but this time Team Tomato triumph.

15.30 - School has finished for today! 

16.30 - I arrive home after a bus and metro ride home. The day hasn't finished yet, though. I have to plan lessons for the next week.

17.30 - I make dinner - burgers stuffed with cheddar cheese - as I Skype Daniel to catch up. 

17.45 - Lauren arrives home from her day at work! She works longer days than me, but works less of them, so she's usually home later than me.

18.00 - My cheeseburgers were amazing. Time to plan more of my lessons.

19.00 - Lauren and I leave for Franglish - the French/English language exchange that takes place in the city centre. It's a lot of effort after working during the day, but it's always very beneficial for my French skills.

19.30 - We arrive at Franglish just on time for it starting - Luke, Jess P, Nia and Beth had already arrived so we sit down where there's a space and get started on conversing with French people.

21.30 - When chatting to a Frenchman, we discuss the fact that Lauren and I are Scottish and there aren't many Scottish people here in Lille. He replies "There's one over there who I was speaking to earlier!" and points to a table behind us. Once Franglish ends, we speak to the girl he pointed out and voila, she's Scottish, and she's at Franglish with a Scottish friend!! We end up walking to the train station with Luke, Beth and the two Scottish girls, revelling in the fact that Scottish accent outnumber English ones for the first time since moving to Lille!

21.50 - We get a McDonald's before heading home. No shame.

22.20 - Lauren and I arrive home full of chicken nuggets and fatigue. I settle down in bed and finish off my Blogmas post for the next day. 

23.30 - I turn my light off and finally settle down to sleep. I don't have to set an alarm for the next day because Wednesday is my day off work, woop! Goodnight!


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