Tuesday, 24 November 2009

We don't need no education

24 November 2009

Still busy. Apart from a week of rain, the weather has been almost summery.
I can’t remember what I have written in the past about my quest for employment, but here’s the thing.
About 2 months ago, Mr Gay, my polemploi (job centre advice type thingy) suggested that I visit the Inspection Academique building to see if they required anyone to teach English in the local primary schools.
The next day, armed only with a CV, I climbed as directed, to the second floor and entered the room that I had been pointed towards.
I asked the lady behind the desk if it was her that recruited people to teach English in Primary schools?
No it wasn’t her, but the lady who sat across the room from her might be the one, she wasn’t sure. I left my CV on the empty desk, and wended my way home.
Three weeks later I got a cryptic email from an unknown person, with no official tag, to say who she was and who she worked for.
Someone would be in touch to arrange a date for a habilitation.
I looked up habilitation in the dictionary. A few days later, I got another email suggesting a date for this exam. Two ladies would be taking me for the test.
There were numerous attachments to help me prepare for my exam.
The pages and pages of official viewpoint on how English should be taught to primary school pupils, the pages of content which should be covered for each of the years in Cycle 3 were listed etc etc. Unfortunately it was all in French.
I searched the Internet a bit, and found a mention of it in an Englishwoman’s blog. The exam would last half an hour. You would listen to a taped item (in English) and be asked to paraphrase the content, answer questions posed by the panel. Read something in English, Write something in English, and finally, discuss the official viewpoint on how English should be taught. This was going to be the tricky bit, but it should only last 10 minutes, and the bloggee had not been asked much and the panel had let her do most of her talking in English.
So, no worries.
I arrive at a local lycee and meet the two French / English teachers.
Listen to tape of someone talking about how the Japanese cannot cope with having holidays. – No problem.
Read some pages from “Winnie the witch” – no problem, although they did not enter into the spirit of things and tell me what colour the dog was etc etc.
The next bit was skipped over, and it was time for the official questions. I should be out in record time, I thought.
I was grilled for about 40 minutes on this 10 minute tops, section. They were being thorough.
They decided that I had passed phase one and that I could now be designated as having gained my “Habilitation provisoire”. That means that I have a standard of English which permits me to teach primary school children. Part two, to gain the full habilitation will probably happen next year. Someone will come and observe me teaching a class. If I fail they will make comments and arrange another observation.
Anyway, I returned to the Inspection Academique and filled in paperwork, supplied copies of various official documents and my bank details.
On the ninth of November, after the Toussaint holidays, I began working in two primary schools in the next town which is about a 25 minute drive away.
Monday I leave the house at around 10 for my first lesson at 11am. At 11.45 the CE1 lesson finishes, school closes for 2 and a quarter hours for lunch.
At 2.15 my next class CM2, begins. They are unruly little boys and girls aged between 10 and 11. No wonder so many teachers move about the world like zombies. My next class is CP/CE1. They are probably about 7 years old and there are only 6 of them. The problem here is that the head teacher whose class I “teach” for the previous ¾ hour, always returns to class late, once half an hour late, so the little ones don’t have much lesson time. They are bright as buttons though. Unfortunately they go swimming on Tuesday afternoons, so their scheduled Tuesday English lesson will not commence until next year.
None of the classes have had an English lesson this school year, prior to me starting on 9 Nov. The CP and the CE1 class did no English last year. The CM2’s don’t seem to have picked up much English. I know they had some teaching last year, but their workbook covers only days of the week, months of the year, seasons, some numbers, some body parts, and a family tree.
They are supposed to reach A1 standard ready to start the Lycee 6th form next year. I am discovering that they don’t know much, if any of the oral English that they will be assumed to have, ready for the big school. The majority are not keen to do any work at all, which is a shame for the few that are trying. I continue to mix up the lessons to make it as varied as possible but at the moment it is the French Resistance all over again. They may soon turn up to school in berets and long overcoats. On verra.
I think that the teacher is supposed to stay in the class and participate. CE1’s teacher does. The teenies are no trouble, but the 11 year olds are a different kettle of poisson.
The schools appear to have no English resources so it is costing me a fortune (in both time and money) buying teacher manuals, printing off things, making up example,/ picture / song sheets etc and that’s not to mention the sleep deprivation.
Anyway, I hope to find out what my job title is and what the rate of pay is soon. I got a phone call from the Inspection Academique this morning to say that a contract was in the post, could I sign it and return it please, as without this being done, I cannot be paid.

Whar the hell has happened to the Blogger software?????

1 comment:

  1. well I was certain you'd left off blogging altogether what with your regular FB updates and all. And I've been a very bad bloggirl and not kept up with reading.

    so imagine my surprise (go on I say, IMAGINE IT) when I visited today and found a whole load of writing.

    so you're on to making an honest man of yourself, eh. knowing your eternal love for little ones, I can only hope you don't find a way to corrupt them somehow into your cynical outlook. tut tut.


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