I realize that I haven’t posted on here in about a week so here’s an updated on what has been happening here lately.
Last week on Thursday we had a big orientation for all of the teaching assistants in Orléans and some if the surrounding areas. It was nice because while I was there I could take care of a lot of the paperwork I had to do. in the morning, we were talked to about a lot of administrative stuff, but it was good to learn more about what is expected of teaching assistants here. We got to eat lunch in the school canteen, and I was surprised at how complete a school lunch in France is compared to school lunches in the United States. I’ve been told that most students here will eat in the canteen for lunch and not pack a lunch, which s strange to me as I brought a lunch with me nearly every day when I was in high school. That afternoon when we had finished lunch, the assistants were divided up by the language that we would be teaching and what grade levels we would be working with and had ore meetings. We talked some about what we thought our first lessons might be and how to interact with the students. This information was kind of helpful to me, as I haven’t done much teaching before, but the nicest part of this afternoon meeting was getting to meet other teaching assistants.
I also have finally gotten my work schedule, and I have Fridays and Mondays off. This is nice as it extends my weekends in case I want to travel. It’s really nice as well because there’s a lovely market in the middle of the city on Fridays and I’ve made a point of walking around it each week. The food always smells wonderful and there are many books there to look at as well.
Because of my long weekend, I had more time again to explore the city. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the tram system now, which is really helpful in getting around the city. I watched several rugby games on tv this past weekend as well. I’m still struggling to understand the game, but it seems to be a really important sport to many of the people that I’v met so far. The rugby world cup is happening and that’s why so many games have been on, but it’s strange to me that if I was at home I probably wouldn’t have known this world cup was happening.
On Sunday, I went to mass at the Cathedral St. Croix with some of the other assistants and then we went to the Musée des Beaux-Arts. It was interesting to go to a catholic mass in France, especially because I had never been to a mass before and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was really cool to go to church in a cathedral that is so big and so old. To think that people had been worshiping there for centuries was a bit mind blowing. The Musée des Beaux-Arts was a pretty good sized museum. Orléans isn’t a huge city, but I thought the museum would be small for some reason. We spent several hours there and still didn’t get to see quite everything.
My first week of teaching began on Tuesday. For this week I mostly observed classes and answered the students’ questions about myself and the United States. It was quite interesting to see the differences in levels between students in a given class and even from one class to the next. All of the student that I’ve met so far were really nice and friendly. I am also really happy with the teachers that I get to work with, who have all been very kind and helpful. Next week I will start working with small groups of students outside of the classroom, and I’m quite anxious to begin my “real” teaching experience.