st
udentTeaching my students to give and recieve directions

st

udentTeaching my students to give and recieve directions


Things French men have said to me in otherwise unspeakable contexts…

"Your are my English girl. Monty Python!!!" Man aged 27. Sells Clothes. Wannabe Grafiti Artist.

"I am very excited by you. In that, I find you are exciting me. You are exciting to me." Man aged 33. Builds bits of the internet. 

"My thing it will go ring ring in the morning." - Should remain entirely anonymous. 


The beginning of a Story an 11 year old wrote for me

On that day, the island stood darkly in front of us, with a bright sky that was almost blinded us. Some clouds were so black that the sky looked like a black and white cow. The sea was so aggitated that the waves broke on the rocks making crests which looked like sheep.



I’m gripped: Delphine is an astounding child. 


My Students

Forget what they tell you on TEFL courses. Students do not come in boxes labeled “young learner,” “adult” or “Business,” and nor do they have levels.

I have lots of individuals now, and they are all bananas. Maybe this is because I put posters up in all the cool cafes.

Thomas is a beginner. He wants to improve his english because he is an aspiring Qi Jong and chinese medicine master. By october, he needs to be fluent in all maters relating to china, airports, and the body.

Chris is very good at English because used to play ping pong for France, but didn’t get any medals when he was in the olympics.

Laura is an accountant. She needs english because to get a better job, but is far too busy to do homework because she is playing Ptonk or riding horses or going to the country side where there are no problems

Stella is from the Ukraine. She is one of those astounding people who speaks millions of languages already. She just likes learning them. 

Margarita is a graphic designer. She photoshops pornstars to make them look like barbie dolls. I have no idea why she wants lessons. 

Jan is Spanish. Jan needs me to work on his song writing with him which he does “in what ever language the words come to him in.” Jan is a Very Spiritual Person (!), and doesn’t know how he learned the English he knows. (You heard it on the TV Jan, and what you’re singing makes no sense.)

The Fronce Familycomprise Johan, 14, Miriam, 49, Grandma Fronce, 82, and the two dogs Tommi and Bibi. They all need to learn english all at once in three weeks, because they are moving to Paris.

Delphine, 11, is already fluent in English because she goes to international school. She needs a teacher with whom she can discuss english literature, go on walks, and watch films. She has a burning ambition to become an interpreter for the army. Delphine rocks my socks. 

(Miguel. Miguel isn’t my student, he’s my housemate. He is multi-lingual because he was in Cirque du Soleil. I just wanted to tell someone that.)

There is no way in hell I could have predicted the responses I’ve had to my badly spelled adverts, nor, that in a week or so, there is a high chance I will have to leave all my students to go and conduct a childrens orchestra in Andora.

I should open my eyes sometimes. Teaching English is hilarious and life is really quite exciting. 


And now they look like this.
Professionalisim - its all in the looking like you know what you’re doing.

And now they look like this.

Professionalisim - its all in the looking like you know what you’re doing.


This is what my lesson plans used to look like…

See that? That’s colour coding. They would take about 5 hours to put together, two days of forethought, and a whole bunch of photocopying stress in the ten minutes before hand. 

This is what my lesson plans used to look like…

See that? That’s colour coding. They would take about 5 hours to put together, two days of forethought, and a whole bunch of photocopying stress in the ten minutes before hand. 


WORK

At the end of a desperate week of daily posting variations on a theme of lemmeteeachyoueengleeeshammamazingplzkthxbai all over the internet, plastering toulouse in union jack flavoured posters, and visiting every single languagle school in TLS, I have found work. 

How did I find work? By going to a party.

There is a lesson to be learned from this: Posters are shit. Networking is everything.

This particular party was at a coloc in the south of Toulouse, which has a small swimming pool (about the size of a bath) a very large garden, and a kitten, now named Bagheera*, who was found in the chicken pen one morning at the bottom of the very large garden. I also met a guy from London with whom I had the following conversation. 

Him: “Yeah, aparently the 14th of July is some kind of national holiday”

Me: “It’s Bastille day”

Him: “What’s bastille day”

Me: “It’s when they stormed the Bastille.”

*awkard silence* (I totally know what Bastille day is.)

It was also the first party I’ve really spoken french at. (Proud face.) Because it’s Toulouse, the native speakers were a minority, but french was the common language. This has spurred me to, apart from when I am teaching, to only speak French this week. Challenge me, my friends, and slap me if you hear me saying anything else.

*Bagheera is an excellent name for a tiny black kitten


JOB HUNTING

This is in capital letters, because it MAKES ME WANT TO SHOUT. 

Me, my posters, my elegantly formatted CVs and I have been trapesing around Toulouse looking for work for the last three days, and my legs hurt.

Being a freelance unemployed person is surprisingly tiring. Not wanting to state the obvious, but it takes up all your time. You can’t ever not be one. It’s surprisingly difficult to control your time, and motivate your self, and remember what you actually do and want to do. 

Even when you’re hanging out with your friends in a bar, and you meet some guy and he’s all like, “so whaddayadoo”,

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I found this on my desk. Help.
What is this? Answers to questions? What questions? What did you do at the weekend type questions? How did your last dinner party go? 1. 2. Discuss your habits? 3. 4. Never have I ever. Is it some sort of response to English TV? (Potentially, I’m a celebrity get me out of here?) 
I don’t get it.
Perhaps theses are not answers to questions at all. Perhaps no-one even wrote them. Perhaps they are a subliminal message from the beyond/my future over-tired teacher-self, telling me that my students will never, ever ever ever understand me and will go forward in their “language” education only to succeed in producing snippets of surreal meta-situationist art without any intention of achieving anything more than ordering a coffee, or getting a hair cut. 
I should just teach piano and be done with it. 

I found this on my desk. Help.

What is this? Answers to questions? What questions? What did you do at the weekend type questions? How did your last dinner party go? 1. 2. Discuss your habits? 3. 4. Never have I ever. Is it some sort of response to English TV? (Potentially, I’m a celebrity get me out of here?) 

I don’t get it.

Perhaps theses are not answers to questions at all. Perhaps no-one even wrote them. Perhaps they are a subliminal message from the beyond/my future over-tired teacher-self, telling me that my students will never, ever ever ever understand me and will go forward in their “language” education only to succeed in producing snippets of surreal meta-situationist art without any intention of achieving anything more than ordering a coffee, or getting a hair cut. 

I should just teach piano and be done with it. 


So, I had a pretty, wandering around in the sun sort of weekend. Between two intense blues parties, I managed to hit up a festival, go to a parade, get a free mandolin lesson in the park, eat the worlds most amazing brunch, go to a market, see a free art show, and buy some new shoes.
Oh, and plan two killer lessons. You know, the usual. #badass
My prospects in France are good. I found a music workshop today. A whole shop where kids can just go and practice the piano and meet tutors who help them. So here’s hoping I can combine teaching English as a foreign language with teaching piano in a foreign language. (these are prepositions. I passed my grammar test with 100%!!!!! Don’t hate me)
Or, you know, I’ll just advertise myself as Mary Poppins. Superwoman Multilingual All Singing All Dancing All Piano Playing Childcare Supremo.
I did a dressing up lesson with my adults today. They loved it. Children will love it too.

Me, in role. “You want this shirt?”
Mohammed, not in role. “Sfor a women.”
Me, out of role.”I know mohammed. But we are pretending.” Back in role: “Try it on!”
"Sfor a women."

Now back to planning lessons. In the sweet sweet company of smarties, cheap beer and, insomnia. #doublebadass.
(…and fantasies about the (sadly taken) super hot tutor who will asses me on thursday morning.*)
*When I will do a role play lesson, just to make an impression. In my best shirt**
**Trying to impress the taken ones is TOTALLY FINE***
***even if they’re your #badass teacher.

So, I had a pretty, wandering around in the sun sort of weekend. Between two intense blues parties, I managed to hit up a festival, go to a parade, get a free mandolin lesson in the park, eat the worlds most amazing brunch, go to a market, see a free art show, and buy some new shoes.

Oh, and plan two killer lessons. You know, the usual. #badass

My prospects in France are good. I found a music workshop today. A whole shop where kids can just go and practice the piano and meet tutors who help them. So here’s hoping I can combine teaching English as a foreign language with teaching piano in a foreign language. (these are prepositions. I passed my grammar test with 100%!!!!! Don’t hate me)

Or, you know, I’ll just advertise myself as Mary Poppins. Superwoman Multilingual All Singing All Dancing All Piano Playing Childcare Supremo.

I did a dressing up lesson with my adults today. They loved it. Children will love it too.

Me, in role. “You want this shirt?”

Mohammed, not in role. “Sfor a women.”

Me, out of role.”I know mohammed. But we are pretending.” Back in role: “Try it on!”

"Sfor a women."

Now back to planning lessons. In the sweet sweet company of smarties, cheap beer and, insomnia. #doublebadass.

(…and fantasies about the (sadly taken) super hot tutor who will asses me on thursday morning.*)

*When I will do a role play lesson, just to make an impression. In my best shirt**

**Trying to impress the taken ones is TOTALLY FINE***

***even if they’re your #badass teacher.


"Do you think cows are dangerous?"

"No, but there are sheets everywhere."

"Do you mean sheep?"

"Noo, Sheet. Sheet. The Sheet of the Cows. Which are not dangerous."

Gem of my week. Excuse me whilst I go and burn all my negative energy on DANCING LIKE A MADWOMAN


Things have improved

I get to teach a one on one lesson. Much more my style, and I can get away with speaking French a lot. 

Toulouse won the Rugby. 

I came up with the idea of Bilingual babysitting: English and piano lessons for toddlers all rolled into one! This could be a go-er.

In other news, French students invent some good crack. Do I know what they mean? Kind of. Do they know what they mean? Who knows! And who am I to help them out.

Gems from today:

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