Tricky Issues

We all experience problems in our teaching from time to time. In fact it’s part and parcel of the job. Feel free to use this area to ask for advice on anything that’s causing you concern and of course to offer up help and support to others. Don’t let the little ~*¡@¨%?# get you down…! :smiley:


Yes it’s quite normal, I’ve been an assistant twice, teacher, turned down remplacement posts and now freelance at uni. Because french teachers only have to be at school when they’re teaching there’s no “team”, very little help, everyman for himself etc. because the head doesn’t choose the teachers and no one can sack them either - job for life (in the public sector) then the teachers, not all but most, don’t really give a monkey’s… what you’re experiencing is the standard teaching assistant’s life. and yes - don’t rock the boat, the french hate that, you have to know your place, smile and get on with it - not very helpful I know but that’s how it is. best advice I can give is just to use the post for what it is and get a life outside the school - clubs, associations etc. Cambridge do some helpful books that are great for photocopied activities or ideas in class: Keep Talking by F Klippel and Grammar Practice activities bu Penny Ur

Good luck and use it for what it is - a good way of spending time in France with some good money (in relation to what French Uni students get for a 35 hour week on a stage - often nothing!) - look at the school as just 12 hours to do a week - the rest of the time is for you…

Hi Annie

Despite the fact you’ve been dropped in it, you need to take control of the situation - here are a couple of suggestions:

Search on the Internet for free ESL printable board games - there are plenty. Print a few out and take them with you. Ask each student to answer a question at a time, or take a dice and let them ‘play’. Take a turn yourself, so they (may) listen to your answer. Have a look in their text books and in the school library - they may have resources in there too.

Simple word connection game (as played on SFN) write (or say) a word the next person has to write (or say) a word beginning with the last letter of the previous word: hello…old…dog…gone…egg… etc - no repeats.

Slightly more complicated begin with a word and the next person has to add a connected word: egg…bacon…pig…farm…farmer…countryside… here you can encourage them to ask ‘How do you say ‘_____’ in English?’

Finally, the five word story - Start a story with 5 words, the next person has to add 5 words etc. This is great for emphasising correct sentence structure/ word order.

Hope this helps.

  • Hilary

Thanks Sab. Well its Friday and the end of another confusing week made worse by having to teach last lesson of the day where the only response I could drag from them was ‘je ne sais pas’ . I suppose with the Bac Blond about to happen things are bit a difficult but it would be nice for someone to explain the arrangements before I drive 40 minutes to a cancelled lesson.

FROM: Annie Long
Hi Everyone. I am new to the SFN and to ‘real teaching’. Have done YTS and some inhouse stuff in the UK but was appointed as an Assistante Etranger in November to help lycee kids to develop oral English. A few problems settling in - hardly anyone speaks to me (one of my colleagues says the same) and the whole department seems very disparate. No one know what anyone else is doing, or cares. Also I was told I was ‘assisting’, but two of the staff just send me half their class and a couple of bits of paper and say ‘teach that’. sight unseen - so no prep time which is very difficult as my french is not that great. Is this normal? Any suggestions. In the absence of guidance from colleagues I spoke to the Directrice’s assistant - bad move. Big slap down from HoD. So what now? Is it the same elsewhere?. .