La dĂ©claration d’amour

As I take the metro so often to travel to and from work and the like, I picked up one of those handy free metro newspapers. Inside, I read about a guy who made a video about his love for Lille, his homeplace; the video is about his having left Lille, but taking with him all those special memories, places and people.

Read the article here (in French):

And here’s a link to the video on youtube:

If you understand/are learning French, I recommend a watch! 🙂

 “Il n’en revient pas lui-mĂŞme. De retour dans sa Lille natale après avoir passĂ© dix annĂ©es Ă  Paris, Alexandre Contart, 36 ans, a mis en ligne, le 18 septembre, un court-mĂ©trage de cinq minutes, dans lequel il dĂ©clare son amour pour la capitale des Flandres. Une semaine après, la vidĂ©o a dĂ©jĂ  Ă©tĂ© vue par plus de 32 000 internautes. Le dĂ©but d’une jolie romance”


Oh, Mondays.

So. I’ve realised now, after 3 consecutive weeks, that Mondays just don’t do it for me.

For some reason, Mondays are difficult days. Thursdays are better days. C’est comme ça.

Walking home today, I had a headache. Either because of the children’s constant chatter, or the fact that I hadn’t drank anything for hours. Probably dehydration.

Tonight I will be going to eat with some friends, and then possibly go to a little Bible study, before doing some more preparation before bed *fingers crossed*.

Luckily tomorrow I have only one hour of teaching, so I have time to finish preparing for what will be my full-on Wednesdays and Thursdays! I will start teaching in the Language Centre tomorrow (so far I’ve only been teaching in the one primary school), so hopefully I’ll settle more there. I was meant to start leading some English workshops in the school today too, however they will now be starting from this Thursday.

I met another English-teaching colleague today. She’s from America. Her French is so good, I originally thought she was French and had learnt English with an American accent. We spoke about teaching being a learn-on-the-job kind of thing; how we learn how to teach by getting out there and teaching. Hoping this is true! I’m kind of starting to think that maybe the teaching gift is something you kinda have or you haven’t. And I’m not sure I have it.

Off to skype a friend for some English conversation. To give my brain and head a rest.

Oh and I’ve just finished a hefty 100g bar of chocolate. Because this is what Mondays do to me now…

In The Deep

So yesterday was only my fourth day of actual teaching. I know, I’ve barely started, yet I feel all I’ve been doing is going on about it. So far I have worked two Mondays and two Thursdays. For some reason, after my Monday afternoon classes I always feel a little deflated (or very deflated, if we’re talking about last Monday…) whereas on Thursdays I feel that things go much better. It’s almost as though Monday is my practise day, and by Thursday I’ve been able to adapt the lesson plan to make it better *fingers crossed*, as well as figuring out ways to better discipline the kids too (will come to that later).

Still feeling a bit like a squashed tomato, as everything is new. Next week I’m going to be teaching up to around I don’t know…20 hours maybe…? So we shall see how THAT goes. I can feel the butterflies in my belly already. Possibly not the best idea to spontaneously train off to England for the weekend, but hey ho. Family’s important!

The thing is though, I’m rubbish at motivating myself to do work. My dad’s always said, I’m a ditherer. It used to take me ages to start writing my English essays for example; and it’s not like I’m a student anymore, where if worst comes to worst I can just hand in my half written essay and hope for the best (yeah, failed that one!). This time, I’M the teacher, the one who has to know where I’m taking the children next – all activities and materials planned and prepped. It’s going to be an interesting ride!

On a positive note though, yesteday I enjoyed my lessons. Well, firstly I think I was just plain relieved that pupils weren’t sliding on tables and stacking chairs. Don’t ask. Although of course there were those who tried to misbehave and those who weren’t listening, I felt able to better control those situations. For example, if someone was not listening or if they kept misbehaving, I’d tell them to go and sit in the nursery corner for a minute, on one of the little yellow chairs which are lined up around a green furry rug. I gave one child the choice: yellow chair or Mr. So and So? After waiting a while for his response (he wanted to do neither of course)…he finally chose the yellow chair.

What made me happy, was how my classes ran quite smoothly yesterday for the four year olds. Even my first class with the children who are a little older ran quite smoothly too. Last week my timing was a bit all over the place, so hopefully I can learn from this week and last week and maintain good lesson structures.

If you’re working with little ones too, the little children really enjoyed the song, ‘We All Fall Down’. I also gave the little ones a colouring activity to do – we were working on Spot the Difference worksheets, where there was one picture of a man with a big nose and small ears next to another picture of the same man with a small nose and big ears. The children had to tell me the difference and I tried to stress the words ‘big’ and ‘small’ and revise a few colours when they were colouring. In my final group, the time quickly passed and everything seemed to have gone well; one little girl was speaking Frenglish by the end!

I’m hoping to introduce some kind of reward system for when the children are good – for praising them too, as sometimes all I feel I’ve been doing is trying to assert some kind of authority and telling the children what they can and cannot do. One new thing I managed to do yesterday was to ask the classes to think of their own rules, and then introduce the classes to some of my own – for example, when I say, ‘Everybody!’ I want silence.

I’m not sure if I’ll be teaching forever, but I feel like a lot can be learnt through learning to teach, that is, learning to teach well.

I’ve been asking for a lot of advice this week, from other teachers and leaders who have worked with children. I feel like I’ve thrown myself in the deep end a little, what with 1) teaching young children 2) teaching in French and 3) relying on little teaching experience i.e assistantships and Holiday Clubs. Either way, I guess here in the deep is where we find out whether we sink or swim. I’ll keep you posted.

You’re uncomfortable? You’re evolving.

My three weeks in Lille so far can be defined as such:

Week 1: Croaky voice

Week 2: Sore throat (+ ulcer)

Week 3: Sniffly nose

Animal-wise this is how I’ve seen myself:

Week 1: Frog

Week 2: Ill Frog

Week 3: Frog turned Elephant

I wonder what Week 4 has up its sleeve.

Thankfully, my doctor in France didn’t hesitate to hand me a tissue when I welled up and then provide me with this impressive lot: a throat spray, paracetamol, a kind of syrup, and even a nasal spray.

NB: The title of this post – just some advice from my funny father.

Drill a Man

Tonight I’m choosing to post the poem, ‘When God Wants To Drill A Man’. These are some powerful words that Joni Eareckson Tada chose to include in one of her writings. Joni is a Christian author, who I’ve liked since a young age. Her story is inspiring, and if you get the chance to read her story, you’ll see how her faith is even more so. The poem itself is anonymous. If you too are a believer in Jesus and feel like you’re going through a testing time, or need encouragement right now, I hope the poem helps! Know that God is in control and has a plan, even when we don’t know what we’re doing and we’re not sure what we’re about.

When God wants to drill a man, and thrill a man and skill a man,
When God wants to mold a man to play the noblest part,
When He yearns with all His heart to create so great and bold a man
That all the world should be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways:
How He ruthlessly perfects whom He royally elects;
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him into shapes and forms of clay
Which only God can understand,
While man’s tortured heart is crying and he lifts beseeching hands;
Yet God bends but never breaks when man’s good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,
And with mighty power infuses him,
With every act induces him to try His splendor out,
God knows what He’s about.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”

Romans 8:28