Teaching Abroad in France: Guest Post from Izzy

Hi ! Hello ! Bonjour ! Salut !

I'm Izzy. I live in the west of France and I'm an ESL teacher. I've been teaching for 15 years, to pupils from 10 to 15 years old. I first started with pupils from 15 to 20 and I also taught French to foreign students, aged from 5 to 15, arriving in France. I also taught English to deaf students which was the most amazing and enriching teaching experience I had, apart from what I live everyday with my students. I also worked in Paris for six years and near London for two years.

As far as the classrooms are concerned in secondary school, there is no standard. It really depends on the size of the school you teach in and the number of teachers there are. Quite often, you'll have to share your classroom with another teacher. For example, if you don't work on Mondays, another teacher can be in the classroom on that day. In primary schools, most teachers have their own classroom.
Last school year, for the first time in my « long career » , I had my « own » classroom. It's large and the coldest in the school, (that's why nobody wants to be there ! ^^ ) but I like it. I really managed to create the space I wanted especially thanks to my classroom library and the different spaces devoted to work in small groups or autonomous works.

Generally, students like English… learning it is another story ! Learning a foreign langage in France had been quite abstract for too long, i.e a lot of people today say that they're at bad at  English because when they were at school, they had no idea why they were learning it for. Classwork was quite disconnected from what the « real language » was. Things have changed and evolved but if I had to compare it with my experience of teaching French in England, for example, we are quite late. In England, students learn a language with a purpose, not just for the sake of it.
Academic and literary English is not everything… English is spoken in lots of countries which people and history are rich. For example, lots of my students had no idea that India is an English-speaking country.
An other thing which is different here is the lack of teacher training when dealing with special needs students is concerned. There is something big missing here.

My students have between 26 and 28 hours of class a week. They start learning a foreign language (generally English, but it can also be German, Chinese, Italian or Spanish) from 5 years  old. Learning a foreign language has become compulsory from the age of 7. It takes up about 1 hour a week. When students arrive in secondary school, they have 4 hours a week of English.  The following year, students have 3 hours a week plus another foreign language for 2 and a half hours a week. We try to create links between the different languages to show them that although the languages are different, the aim is the same: communication!
I work in a rural school so a lot of pupils come from quite far and they have long days. I  wish there were more activities inside the school for them to get more involved in school life, like it is in England. Luckily, in the school I'm working in, there are quite a few extra activities such as a school radio (which I'm in charge of), activities related to circus and video game creation. It's really enriching for the students and for us as teachers too since we discover our students in another way.
I absolutely love my job even though a lot of people in France think that we are too often on holiday… It can be tiring sometimes, but also so rewarding. Some of the students I had when I was in England have become great friends. I even attended two of their weddings. I was so honoured.

Last July, on the very last school day, one of my students thanked me for having supported him and told me he was proud to be one of my students. Though he didn't like English, he never ever gave up. That's the best reward.

Izzy is an educator teaching ESL in France.

You can click on Izzy's logo "Five O'Clock Teach" to visit her Teachers Pay Teachers store, or follow here on Pinterest and Facebook!


Thanks for joining in on this week's #WorldwideWednesday post from another #TpTInternationalAuthor! See you next week when we continue to move through Europe!

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