Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Back to College

Well, hello again. This is an update on my vie en France.
After 5 months of signing on as unemployed, following the end of my 2 year contract as an EVS administratif  in two primary schools (10 hours per week in each school), I was successful in being successful in getting a one year contract as an AVSco. 
I am currently based in a large College in the departement, working in a class of children who, for various reasons need varying degrees of help to progress with their education and with their integration into "normal" school life. Most of their time is spent in a classroom working through a curriculum consisting of various subjects, e.g. maths, French, history, geography, history etc. There are also lessons with the other pupils in classrooms out with the comfort zone of their own classroom. I either assist the children under the direction of  the professional teacher, or I accompany a child in a classroom of their peers, helping them to keep up with the lesson, writing the information down for them, clarifying what they have to do etc. 
It is very interesting and rewarding work, but very poorly paid. Working 21 hours per week, I now take home about 30 Euros less than I was making last year.
The move from an office in a small primary school to a large college with 1,000 pupils was a culture shock. From not having to speak or listen to much French during my working day, I was having to immerse myself in the French language. Listening to lessons, instructions, communicating with pupils and staff, my brain really did hurt for the first week. There was also the self doubt making things even more stressful and difficult. Then of course there was the size of the college itself, all of the new rules, the new systems and procedures.....
My contract started on the 1st of September and I have survived thus far.
Like every other facet of French life, the bureaucracy is a real struggle and communication (not due to language difficulties) is often nonexistent or last minute as an afterthought. I am still trying to get the password that I need to log in to the official system to collect emails etc. Obviously as I want to keep my job, I will not go into further details of school life.
So that is where I am at the moment. Apparently these contract can, in principal be for a period of up to a maximum of 6 years. You can be asked to work in any school, college or lycee in the department and your timetable can be changed at very short notice. However, as I said, I am enjoying my new posting and learning a lot at the same time. I am told that my French language is improving, although I am not noticing much of an improvement myself, except for having to learn vocabulary of the college.

A bientot

1 comment:

  1. how funny that for the first time in ages I am in the blogging world, actually wrote a blog post and then started snooping around to see how people are doing and find that today YOU posted an update after not being around for months either.

    Courage with your new gig, how lucky you are to be able to have a contract/salaried position and it does sound interesting so ... good for you!

    take care xx


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