May have to come clean to the advisors

about my plan to go back to France and teach EFL instead of staying here and teaching FFL. I sent out an e-mail to the IFE people just asking some questions about the Masters with Internship program and I got some pretty positive answers back. So I’m thinking of filling my spare semester with that (in which case that would be fall 09). Only issues are 1) should it relate directly to my masters report? 2) how to do that if so? I mean technically I am specializing in teaching French here, not English. But my immediate career goal is to go back over there and teach English. The other option is to intern with a study abroad program for Americans over there. That could be fruitful. Thoughts?

Other question: exactly how to explain it all and convince the advisors (who are very nice people)?

Hung out with MA, couchsurfing ex-assistant, today looking for books in French. We discovered there are none in town, except a few children’s books at Book People downtown, which we were actually pretty impressed with. So we think we will be ordering French books from Intellectual Property on the Drag, who promised us they’ll order us anything at no charge. Now, recommendations for recent fiction/literary books in French? That are not by Amelie Nothomb? (I have nothing against Amélie Nothomb it’s just that I would like to branch out.) Only hitch in the book club plan is that she might be moving to Zambia. But it would at least get me started.

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8 thoughts on “May have to come clean to the advisors

  1. What kind of books do you like? Policiers? I like Fred Vargas as an author. And I just read a bunch of Ionesco’s plays in English and bet they would be just as interesting in French.

  2. Emily says:

    Moi qui n’ai pas connu les hommes by Jacqueline Harpman is a cool dystopia, and it’s not terribly long or hard. The author is Belgian, by the way.

  3. Casseeeeeeeeeeee says:

    Sorry, no book recommendations, obvs. I’m a little surprised that EFL and FFL degrees are transferable, because I’d think teaching English in France and French in America would be really different. It seems like the people who go to France to teach English are already practically fluent in French. Are they really into that as a requirement in France? In Asia it’s not necessary to be able to speak their language to teach yours. Actually, sometimes they discourage it. I’m really curious about this. Do you know why it’s different?

  4. My degree isn’t really in EFL or FFL… it’s in foreign language education. By which I mean that 75% of the coursework is in universally applicable classes about language teaching and language acquisition. Only four of my classes will be in the French department or have anything to do with French. And if I were in it for EFL/ESL I would only have four classes in the English department.

    And actually to be an assistant you don’t have to speak French well at all. They ask that you’ve had three semesters of college French or the equivalent. Then they ask that one of your references give an evaluation of your French, and those may be accurate/realistic evaluations or not. For some people this means they’re quite good and others have absorbed hardly anything.

    But to get a real job in France you have to speak French well, as far as I can tell, unless you’re lucky.

    When you’re an assistant a lot of people tell you not to speak any French to the kids and I suppose if you can’t speak French you’re at an advantage there. If you can, they sometimes tell you to pretend that you don’t know any French. I think that’s silly… if you want to teach using only English in the classroom that’s up to you. I did it when I could (as in, when I knew we wouldn’t lose time), mostly in my more advanced classes. Also I think it can be motivating for students to see that people can successfully learn a foreign language.

    Anyway that was the long answer. The short answer is yes, they want you to have a background in French. I don’t know why. But I think it works in your favor because I can’t imagine trying to get settled over there without any French. I definitely knew that a lot of ESL teachers in Asia (the native speakers obviously) don’t have to know any Korean/Chinese/etc. to get the job. I’ve been curious about how that actually works. How would you function?

  5. ACL was awesome (see above post)! and the verdict is still out on whether noise from next door has improved, since I was gone most of the weekend. But they did lend me a corkscrew indefinitely so I’m really hoping I won’t have to complain about them again.

  6. Casseeeeeeee says:

    Oops, just realized I never answered your question. When you start out in Japan, you generally have a supervisor who speaks some English who gets you started with various business things, gives you tours of the area, takes you to dinner, and helps you with your apartment, phone, and internet situation. Basically, you’re a baby (I didn’t actually have such a person, but I was still babied for a while). In Colin’s program, there were also district coordinators who were just friendly assistant teachers in the same program who called everyone in a certain area and made sure they were getting along okay and gave them advice. Most people learn enough of the language for basic interactions, but for the people who don’t really speak it, they’re basically at the whim of the few people in their workplace who do. As for teaching, I almost never spoke Japanese during class, and it wasn’t usually a problem. I think it was more of a problem that my students knew that I understood Japanese so they’d speak to me in Japanese rather than trying harder with their English. If I was introducing vocabulary, I always had flashcards that showed a picture of the thing so they knew what it was, and then I’d say it in English. When I was introducing grammar, I usually used it in a situation first and would have them practice it in a roleplay or a game, then I might break it down on the board. But we never got into hardcore grammar analysis or anything, and most of my classes were about verbal communication more than reading and writing. So yeah.

    By the way, ACL looked awesome!

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