La Vie Simple – How To Succeed In Teaching Without Really Trying

If I remember rightly, it was around this time last year that I received confirmation that I had been accepted to be a language assistant. Admittedly, one of the biggest pulls of the programme is the pay: 800€ a month for twelve or so hours a week.  If you want to be a teacher in future, it’s invaluable experience, but you don’t even need any teaching qualifications or experience: you’re an English language assistant, so your fluency will suffice. Personally, I had worked before in a school – but not in a teaching role – and others have volunteered with youth groups or tutored. The experience is helpful, but not required. Yet even after six months I don’t claim to be a teacher, or anywhere near one, in fact. Regardless, here are some tips from Yours Truly about doing a half-decent job of it.

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La Vie Simple: What’s Mine Isn’t Yours

No two experiences of a year abroad can ever be the same: whether that’s due to the location, or the placement, or the weather on a particular day in the middle of November. So far, I’ve told you – quite bluntly – what my experience has been like. In the name of fairness, I spoke to five other assistants across France about their experiences: what they knew before leaving, if their expectations were met, what they would change, and what advice they would give someone heading abroad this September.

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La Vie Simple: A Love Letter

Last Saturday morning I was sat on the back row of a tiny, Edinburgh-bound plane. On the other side of the cabin sat an older man and woman; her head perched on his shoulder as she slept; him sat attentively reading an English phrasebook. Essentials, such as ‘may I have a mixed salad please?’, were translated from (what I assume was) his native Italian. As Anglophones, the idea that we’d have to learn another language for a trip is hardly top of our priorities. Everyone speaks English, don’t they? Why am I even bothering with this bloody degree? What’s the point?

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La Vie Simple: French festive (re)flections

At the moment, I’m reaching child-like levels of Christmas excitement. Not for the holiday itself, nor Santa bringing me a Nintendo DS (or whatever the weans are playing with these days), nor am I a female incarnation of Elf: I’m so, so excited for a break. A gin and some new socks wouldn’t go amiss, either.

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La Vie Simple: Advice From An (Almost) Expert

I am a strong advocate of the fact that any form of study abroad programme – be that a year in Singapore, an Erasmus semester, or a work placement anywhere – is bizarre. Completely and utterly. ‘Let’s move you abroad for a year, hope you make some new friends, possibly all in a different language, and hope that everything’s the same when you get back,’ said absolutely nobody, ever. It’s been two months almost since my one-way flight here – minus that quick holiday at home – so now is the time to impart some of my sage(ish) wisdom to you, dear reader.

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