03 April 2011

Save the best for last?

Except for this past Friday, I always have Fridays off. This week, I had a formation with some other école primaire assistants to discuss Pâques and have a potluck lunch. Most other of the assistants there are on seven-month contracts and will be leaving in the next few weeks - kind of a waste of their time. I think we all figured that, this late in the year, a meeting was unnecessary, even if it was nice to see each other one last time. (Thankfully a certain someone that I have no need to see again was MIA!) It really didn't end up to be as boring as I thought and we ended up all sitting and talking with each other for quite a while. I was given a few materials that will be helpful for teaching about Easter traditions in the US, along with a really cheesy video about Easter in the UK. We talked about positive and negative aspects of our experience and of the program, which was a really nice discussion. However, in that discussion, I confirmed some sad news that I think my school has avoided mentioning to me. 
This year is the last year that the TAPIF program is offering the option of a nine-month contract. I had known that they were phasing it out but hadn't thought of the implications of it until Friday. The main difference between the seven and nine month contracts is that I am the sole English teacher, do all my own lesson planning, and take the entire class at one time. The assistants here for seven months are truly assistants to the existing English teachers, aren't required to do much lesson planning, and don't generally have an entire class at once (of course, there are some exceptions to this). Without the nine-month contract option, my school doesn't have the personnel to support a true English assistant. Unfortunately, this means that I am their last English assistant. It's sad news for their students who will have to wait a few years to continue on with English au collège. At least for me, this reinforces my decision not to return, knowing that I couldn't possibly be at the same school. Not that I really ever thought of renewing my contract. 
In other news, since I don't work Fridays, I missed seeing my students celebrate April Fools Day. On top of playing regular pranks, kids try to tape a paper fish to your back - hence the name "poisson d'avril" that gets shouted when la plaisanterie is discovered. I also have train tickets booked to visit two friends from home - one in Germany and the other in France! Yay!! Plus, the weather's been nice lately! Here are photos from a recent afternoon spent basking in the sun at Parc Barbieux in Roubaix. 
An afternoon spent at Parc Barbieux in Roubaix
Parc Barbieux, Roubaix

Une formation - training 
Une école primaire - elementary school
Le Pâques - Easter 
Au collège - at middle school/junior high 
Poisson d'Avril - April Fool
La plaisanterie - the joke 

1 comment:

  1. pretty! I was in Reims yesterday for the beautiful weather - I am so sad that they are ending the nine month contract! I am here til July too!