le retour

I wasn’t expecting my first week back from Christmas vacation to be filled with joie.  Le retour is always difficult, and here there were two: the return from vacation, back to life in small-town France, and the return to teaching. My first day back didn’t deserve to go so well. I’ve been there before. This time, though, I made the opposite mistake. Instead of turning up a day early, staring … Continue reading le retour

in which I ‘faire des bêtises’

It’s weird to put myself in a new category: teacher, the mysterious breed that one is always shocked to see in a public place. Recently I spent the whole day in town, working on lessons and then meeting Mary for dinner and drinks. I had my laptop and a stack of books, my hair in a bun. I glimpsed my reflection on the way into … Continue reading in which I ‘faire des bêtises’

en vacances

Our first two-week vacation period has started. So far, vacation looks like sleeping ’til ten, lingering over chocolat chaud topped with clouds of chantilly, and exploring the medieval city. Have we earned it? Maybe not, but I’m certainly not complaining. The students are enjoying their first vacances scolaires, thus, so are we. My first weeks at the schools have gone really well. The kids are sweet and clever, and quite … Continue reading en vacances

bringing missouri to montluçon

Many of my students have never met an American, so I didn’t want to teach cliches. Burgers and fries, big cities and celebrities? They’ve seen enough of that, maybe only that, on TV. I wanted to share what I think of when I think of home. So rather than trying to introduce the whole country in one go to children who think I regularly hang out with Obama, I took … Continue reading bringing missouri to montluçon

confessions of a brand-new teacher

I was so nervous, all weekend. Friday we had a planning session for the primary school teachers in our département (composed of Montluçon, Vichy, and Moulins) and honestly I think it just stressed everyone out. There are just four of us this year, representing England, Ireland, the US, and Puerto Rico (four different accents!). We’re each at 3 or 4 schools, working with all classes. This means, for … Continue reading confessions of a brand-new teacher