La Vie à Lyon

Living, learning and loving in Lyon !

Archive for the category “Work”

There’s a camp ?

One of the downfalls with my replacing someone halfway through the school year was that things that had been organised with them were suddenly my responsibility. Which was fine – when people remembered to tell me on time !

So when it was casually mentioned a week beforehand that I would be heading off on the CE1/CE2 overnight camp during the last week of school, I frowned and asked if the kids knew about it – because I sure didn’t.

Turns out yes, yes they did. Since December. Alrighty then !

So we left Lyon bright and early on the Monday morning and headed south for our séjour in Provence. The kids were great on the bus, loaded up with their gadgets, and we rolled on down to Mornas in the Vaucluse region of France. Mornas is a small medieval town next to the autoroute and it has an excellent clifftop fortress. We visited the fortress with a ‘knight’ and learnt about defence, food, punishment and fighting in medieval times.

After a picnic lunch, we headed into town to do a medieval treasure hunt. The kids had a ball finding different bits and pieces around Mornas (me too !), and a sneaky history lesson was thrown in at the same time.

Next stop was the park for afternoon tea, then back on the bus to our home for the night – a holiday village in Vaison la Romaine. It was fabulous. I shared a 6 bedroom house with 12 giggling girls. The grounds were huge – these city-slicker kids went wild ! Even I did some handstands and cartwheels on the grass ! We had a great dinner, and made the most of the grounds and the long summer day – we packed the kids off to bed around 10 when it got dark.

Tuesday was spent at a circus training park, Parc Alexis Gruss. Alexis Gruss is an equestrian and circus director from way back; he (and his family) put on a very impressive day –  horse training, an educational show (in that they explained the training required between each act – no photos allowed, unfortunately), a picnic, a clown/magic show, a dog show, a horse show and, finally, the elephant’s shower.

Then it was home time. The trip back to Lyon was uneventful: the kids slept, scrounged the last of their lollies from the bottoms of their backpacks and enjoyed the novelty of the toilet on the bus. We got back safe and sound, albeit 90 minutes late (hey, it’s France, that’s how they roll) !

I originally thought, ‘Wow, isn’t there enough to do during that last week?’  but in hindsight, camp was a really nice way to finish off the school year.

And no, not just because the teachers can drink wine !

Bisous !


Summer days, drifting away…

Summer holidays are here, Northern Hemisphere style. No Christmas or New Year celebrations to busy things up, just two long, hot months off.

July cruised along nice and quietly. This is what I got up to:

  • a few afternoons spent in at school to prepare things for la rentrée,
  • a bit of tutoring now and then,
  • watching Le Tour,
  • watching the FINA World Championships (hello Camille Lacourt !),
  • reading Stephen King for hours every day,
  • sleep-ins,
  • playing with the cat,
  • ‘swims’ in the bathtub because it’s bloody hot and the nearest pool is expensive, indoor and full of families and people that don’t have bathtubs,
  • spending time (mostly apéros !) with family and friends, and
  • having that third (fourth ?!) beer on a ‘school’ night !

August is here now, and looks to be a little busier. Oh, perhaps not. Perhaps it will be just doing the same things in different places. Sim has holidays, so we’ll spend some time in St Sym with his parents, as well as a week in Rioz (near Besançon), house-sitting his brother’s house while he’s on holidays with his family. There’s a trip to Paris with a life-long friend, and the possibility of a hot trip out west to Hossegor.

Vive les vacances !

Bisous !

My vie quotidienne

How things have changed this year!

I’ve gone from the full-time student life to the full-time working life in the blink of an eye. This is my daily life now, or ma vie quotidienne.

I get up around quarter to seven, faff around and leave the house at quarter to eight to catch the 8:04 bus down at the bridge (unless I have the car, then I leave around 8).  I have a 15 to 20 minute bus ride, depending on the traffic (though Lyonnais/e bus drivers are pretty good at pushing cars out of their way, and are usually on time !), then a short but very steep walk to school.

Getting ready for the hill !

Getting ready for the hill !

I arrive, pick up my canteen register from the office and deposit my stuff in my room. I wet my blackboard sponge and fill up my drink bottle, say hello to the English teachers and kiss the French teachers.

The bell rings at 8:50, and the school day begins.

The morning schedule goes something like this: registration, day/date/weather discussion and handwriting, poetry, vocabulary activities, recess (10:15 – 10:35), more vocabulary activites, listening and comprehension activities and a quick game to finish up.

My little Frenchies hard at it !

My little Frenchies hard at it !

I have canteen duty (12:00 – 1:00) twice a week, and yard duty (1:00 – 2:00) twice a week. Canteen days I eat after the kids, by myself, relishing the silence ! Yard duty days, I eat with the other teachers, stealing glances out the window and praying that it won’t rain !

One of many delicious school lunches.

One of many delicious school lunches.

The afternoon session starts at 2, and follows the same timetable as the morning session. The kids who were with me in the morning head off to the French half of their day, and the kids who had French in the morning come to me.  They have a snack at recess (3:15 – 3:35), and we pack up to go at ten to five.

The anglophone teachers have door duty every day, from ten to until ten past five. We greet the parents, make sure they are who they say they are, and send the kids home.

I have study hall duty four times a week, from 5:30 until 6:30, supervising the kids who stay at school to do their homework. Most of them finish by 6, so they can play a quiet game, read, draw and sometimes, if I’m feeling generous and they’ve been good, I take them outside for some extra playtime. At 6:30, they head off to garderie.

The school closes at 7. If I have the car, I head home any time after 6:30. If not, I usually hang around until 7 and get a lift home with Laurianne,  who supervises the kids until 7 and who lives in the building behind me. Handy !

It’s a change alright, but one that I’m enjoying !

Bisous !

Cours Elementaire 1

As my life has been totally consumed by work, so too shall my blog – at least until the holidays !

I’ve been working with my new grade, CE1, for four weeks now. They’re a normal, likeable bunch of 7 and 8 year olds. I have 16 students in my morning group, and 18 in my afternoon group. They all call me Jayde.

The focus for this age group is vocabulary. We work to a weekly theme, be it Easter, The Countryside or Spring, and base all of our activities around said theme. The kids do all manner of reading/writing/speaking/listening activities and are graded in terms of Very Good/Satisfactory/Progressing etc.

English is the only subject I teach, though I try to squeeze some respect/values/Being A Good Person stuff in too. History, Geography and Science are taught in English, just not at this level.

They’re a switched-on group, and I am continually (pleasantly !) surprised by how much English they know and understand.

They also know who Don Spencer is, what textas are and when arvo is !

Bisous !

It’s been a while…

Well. It seems that working full time and keeping my blog up to date don’t mix !

I ended up filling in for Mrs Broken Ribs until the end of the term, four weeks in total, with 7 hours overtime per week. I rearranged my ten hours of tutoring per week by filling up my evenings and my Saturdays, and then I got the flu – just in time for the holidays. Of course.

It’s the mark of a good teacher, Sim’s brother (also a teacher) told me, to be sick during the holidays rather than the term !

I’m on the mend now, thanks to my doctor’s appointment  (which Sim changed for me, bless him), lots of bed rest and the fact that one can still easily buy pseudoephedrine over the counter in France !

Bisous !

First impressions

I’ve just finished my first full working week in Lyon. I started earlier than anticipated at the bilingual primary school, as one of the anglophone teachers took a tumble and broke a lot of ribs. I’ll be filling in for her for at least another two weeks.

The way the school runs is interesting. Each class of around 35 students has two teachers, a francophone and an anglophone. The class is split into two groups; one group works with the French teacher in the morning, the other with the English teacher. After lunch, they swap. I teach basically the same program morning and afternoon. On the French side, they follow the national curriculum. The English side is just that – English. Reading, writing, speaking and listening.

My days went something like this:

9:00 – 10:40 Class

10:40 – 11:00 Recess – 3 groups, two teachers on duty, the other in his/her classroom with the ill or the naughty.

11:00 – 11:50 Class

11:50 – 12:00 Short recess, teachers turn into waiters/waitresses and set up canteen

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch, teachers on canteen duty serve the kids their three-course lunches

1:00 – 2:00  My lunch hour

2:00 – 3:40 Class

3:40 – 4:00 Recess – same as the morning, except the kids have a snack

4:00 – 4:50 Class

4:50 – 5:00 Pack up, home time for some, off to études or garderie for others.

5:00 – 6:00 Supervised study for the primary kids (études), babysitting (garderie) for the kindergarden kids.

6:00 – 7:00 Babysitting all the kids who remain. The school closes at 7.

It was…intense !

Other teaching tidbits, good and not so good (some are as I understood them, and could be incorrect – most of these conversations were in French !):

  • All times are approximate, as there’s no bell – you have to watch the clock !
  • Lunch time yard duty is done alone, for one hour.
  • We can apply bandaids, and administer medicine.
  • Duty hours (canteen, yard, study hour, babysitting) are paid at a lesser hourly rate than teaching hours, and have to be entered on a different time sheet.
  • We have 36 teaching weeks per year.
  • We get paid monthly, and my monthly wage will be less than my fortnightly wage in Australia.
  • We have very few opportunities for professional development.
  • Teachers eat for free at the canteen, and teachers’ children learn for free et the school (they have to pay the canteen fees though !).
  • Kids can start in maternelle (kinder) while they’re still in nappies.
  • We have one and a half hours planning time every fortnight.
  • The public and private systems are the opposite as to what they are back home in regards to resources and funding.
  • I can’t work in the French public system, as I don’t have a French diploma.

I know I shouldn’t compare because it’s just so different, but I can’t help but feel that I was spoiled in Australia !

Bisous !

Bon moment, bon endroit

J’ai trouvé du boulot. Un vrai CDI ! Je serai enseignante de CE1 dans une école bilingue dans le 5ème, à partir de mi-mars.

C’est marrant comment les choses fonctionnent. Après les vacances de Noël, j’ai envoyé un email à une dizaine d’écoles internationales/bilingues sur Lyon pour demander si ils avaient une liste d’enseignantes remplaçantes sur laquelle je pourrais ajouter mon nom. Je savais, comme c’était au milieu d’année scolaire, que ce n’était pas le bon moment pour chercher un poste permanent. Je savais aussi, comme c’est la France, que ce serait un miracle d’avoir une réponse rapide !

J’ai reçu une réponse rapide par contre, de la part d’une directrice d’une école à Gerland (une américaine), qui disait qu’ils n’avaient rien pour l’instant, mais de regarder dans quelques mois, quand ils commencent leur recrutement pour septembre.

Ensuite, j’ai reçu une appelle d’un autre directeur (un anglais – c’est les anglo-saxons qui répondent !), qui disait qu’il avait bien reçu mon mail, un de ses enseignants a démissionné ce jour là et : « Pouvez-vous venir pour un entretien ? » Donc j’y suis allée, et pendant la semaine j’ai passé une journée avec l’enseignant et ses (mes !) élèves, surveillé la cantine, surveillé la récréation sous la neige, fait connaissance aves les autre profs, enseigné pendant une après-midi et, pour couronner le tout, reçu une poignée de main et un ‘Bienvenue dans l’équipe’ de la part du directeur ! Youpi !

Mlle Clements est de retour !

Bisous !

Right place, right time

I got a job. An actual ongoing, full-time job ! I’m going to be teaching Grade 1 at an école bilingue in Lyon’s 5th district from mid March.

It’s funny how things work out. After the Christmas break, I sent emails to the handful of international/bilingual schools in Lyon to ask if they had a substitute teacher list that I could add my name to. I knew, being the middle of the school year, that it wasn’t quite the right time to be looking for a full-time position. I also knew, this being France, not to hold my breath waiting for a reply !

I did get an email reply from the director of one school (an American, rather than a Frenchie !), saying that they didn’t have anything for the moment and to check back in a few months when they start recruiting for September.

Then I got a phonecall from another director (English – the Anglo-Saxons get back to you !), saying that he’d received my email, one of their teachers had just resigned and could I come in for a meeting ? So off I went, and, over the course of this week, have spent a day with the leaving teacher and his grade, done canteen duty, done yard duty in the snow, met the other teachers, taught for an afternoon and, to top it all off, received a hearty handshake and a ‘Welcome to the team’ from the director ! Woo hoo !

Miss Clements is back !

Bisous !

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