Friday, November 20, 2009
I briefly held a job in France where I was teaching assistant of Conversational English. I only worked about 10 hours a week, and the French government gave me a stipend and medical insurance. It sounds wonderful, but the job was a nightmare. In spite of passing a general proficiency test at my university, I couldn't understand a god damn word anyone said. I lived way off the train line, and when I asked the person at the bus station if buses ran on Sunday, he looked at me like an alien had flown out of my skull. The worst part was that the French teachers all tried to take advantage of my inexperience and little classroom by sending their entire class to me every day even though they were only supposed to send six students. About halfway through the first semester I got so sick of it that I insisted that they all only send 6 kids. A lot of the teachers grumbled that they would tell my supervisor, but I was so over the whole mess that I didn't care at all. They all acquiesced except one teacher who demanded she would send her entire class. The conversation ended with me telling her not to send anyone, and she said she would talk to my boss. It was one of those rare situations where you've completely given up and don't care about any consequences, so the upside is that there are no negative repercussions to telling everyone exactly how you really feel. I began taking her class as a free hour, and after about three weeks my route to the teachers' computer lab took me past my old classroom. She'd still been sending the entire class, but they were only standing outside my room for the entire period. I panicked for a moment and thought about running to the room and letting them in, but instead I went down a level, crossed the hall, and went up another flight of stairs. Like I said, you reach a breaking point.