Welp, I’m back in glorious Nantes!! I had an amazing winter break full of relaxing, cruising around Dallas, seeing friends, and eating way too much Tex-Mex!
-Celebrating Christmas in Dallas with some of the fam from Milwaukee and lighting the fireplace for the first time in this house!
-French night with the besties which included crepes and Muscadet!
-PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES
-Mavs game with Steph and Monica
-The obligatory party at my place
-Lawry’s with Steph’s fam!
-A fabulous (if not expensive and cooooollldddd) trip to DC to see Katie, Monica, and Danielle
-Mavs game in DC (we won that one even if it was a boring game)
-being reunited with my faves from Lehigh!
-Getting introduced to Kesha’s
new song Timber…it is seriously the best song to get you pumped up to do pretty much anything.
It was AMAZING to be able to go home and see my friends from home and friends from Lehigh and to have the opportunity to share some of my life in France with them. And then of course to come back to Nantes and slip right back into la vie francaise.
The first week back was pretty uneventful at school but Emily came to visit!! Unfortunately, I was somewhat sick all week so it wasn’t too exciting. But we spent a lot of time walking around beautiful Nantes, including a creepy museum and the cathedrale. Highlights of her trip include my bathroom flooding (the French equivalent of Draino is called Destop), exploring the Chateau at night, and le Grand Elephant being closed for the “annual closing”.
Things of note for this week:
In the Geography/History class that I help out with, they were discussing a possible exam question titled “The USA, a dynamic population?” with documents showing the changes in population by county. So the teacher was talking about how people in the US move a lot…for jobs, school, or just something different, while French people stay very close to home…he bets that most of the students in that room will spend their whole lives in Nantes. So he of course asked me if that was true/used me as an example. As he said, I’ll always be Texan and a Dallasite but I went to school in PA and came to France etc. But I’ve never thought about how freely we move within the US. As I’m starting to apply for jobs for next year, I literally have no restrictions as to where I end up…I WILL GO ANYWHERE as long as I get paid (if you know anyone looking for a Theatre Director, hit me up!) and my friends at school were in exactly the same position last year and now I have friends all over the country! But I thought that was an interesting cultural difference.
TODAY, I had the weirdest day ever at school. It started with my first class in which I tried to do a lesson on the Golden Globes because it’s current and the students always want to talk about American “series” so I thought this would be a good way to give them a chance to talk about TV. Welp, I guess this group isn’t that into American shows because they really only mentioned that they watch the NBA, Dexter, and Desperate Housewives. Also, they didn’t know Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, so that made about half the lesson not that funny…So that was a difficult start to the day. Then in my class after lunch, three students were assigned to prepare an article to present to me for a grade but the two that were in class just didn’t do it. So we moved on with class and each day two students have to present on a story from CNN Student News (a daily 5 minute video meant for students about world news) videos, but the student who was supposed to go today didn’t know which date his topic was on and we couldn’t find it by just clicking on the list of videos so now that was done. Then, the three students that were missing came into class 15 minutes late because they were finishing their lunch. So the teacher was rightly annoyed that they took so long at lunch etc. And instead of being apologetic or at least quiet, they argued about how they couldn’t help being 15 minutes late even though the rest of class could get there on time and they were basically mocking the teacher. And let me tell ya, people yelling in French is kinda intense!
Anyways, one of the late students was one that I was supposed to interview so after I finished that, the teacher let me go since it was the same lesson about the US population as the day before. He checked in with me though to make sure I understood where he was coming from…the school culture here is definitely not easy for the teachers. This is only one example of students not having prepared the work they were supposed to or not following through on an assignment. I feel like it doesn’t happen too often in the US, at least from my experience, because grades were important and if you didn’t do an assignment you got a zero…that doesn’t seem to be an option here, or at least it’s not used, so the students can get away with not doing their work.
My last class of the day was with the TSTMG group and they’re always a challenge because their level of English isn’t very high and most of them aren’t really interested in learning English. One girl literally refused to speak in English…every question she had, she didn’t even try to say part of it in English! I did a New Years Resolution listening/worksheet activity which was really successful in my classes last week. The first time they listened, only like three of them actually tried to fill out the worksheet. Then they realized I would be calling on them for the answers so they started trying to fill in the blanks. I’ve learned though that having very structured activities like this one is better for this group rather than trying to have a loose discussion based class since they have trouble using their English in a conversation.
I have my OFII (immigration people) doctor’s appointment tomorrow and so after that I should be a truly legal resident in France and can start receiving my “entitlements” and maybe stop doing any work outside of class?? Bahahah kidding, despite all of the craziness, I’m so happy to be here!