This past weekend I made a little trip to Caen to visit some friends. When I studied abroad there last year, I met a handful of French students who were coming to Baylor for the Spring 2011 semester, and after having a legendary time with them there, I wanted to see them back on their home turf since they are all back in Caen now, finishing up their studies.
It was great to see the city and my friends again! We indulged in wine, beer, raclette, pasta, Quick (typical French fast food restaurant), and more. I knew my way around – thankfully – since I had spent a good amount of time there the year before. It felt sooo good to no longer be a student, and it felt even better to have the pleasure of living the student life for a weekend with no homework or classes to think about. I told them that being a teacher is the next best thing to being a student; you still have lessons to work on and things to prepare, but you know that you are always right. You also benefit from all the school vacation time!
On Saturday, we made a trip to Omaha beach since I never had the chance to go when I was in Caen last year. It was a gorgeous day outside, the cemetery was large and well-kept, and the beach was amazingly calm.
Aside from my little weekend trips that I’m grateful to be able to take, work has been going well. My students are funny. The first week, some of them thought that my name was “LA” because of the way my name sometimes sounds in the accent. They would say to their professors, “Madame! She has such a cool name! Are a lot of Americans named after cities?” Haha! I have four groups to myself every two weeks, each of about five or six students, and they are all respectful and mostly interested. The hardest thing is getting them to talk! If I ask them to write something, they are happy to write pages and pages of sentences, but creating those sentences in their minds and saying them out loud is just something else. I’ve done lessons on American culture, Thanksgiving, and basic vocabulary, and we’ve even played games (yes, I’m the cool assistant!), but since they are all at different levels, the most important thing is finding a 50-minute lesson to do that is varied enough so that everyone has a chance to feel comfortable and speak up. I still love how the students wait for me to tell them to sit down, don’t love how grades are shared with the whole class, and like well enough the French school system in general.
20 days until my brother and Matt get here for our Christmas in Europe extravaganza! I can’t wait to see some familiar faces!