The beginning of March marks my sixth month as a Language assistant in France. And while I knew what I was getting into, this program does have its ups and downs. As I mentioned in one of my first posts, I was placed in two collèges (Middle Schools) both in tiny villages about forty minutes from Strasbourg. And while I love my students, I do have to say, I was a tad bit dissapointed that I was not placed in a lycée (High School), as that is where 100% of my previous experience in teaching is. I know high schoolers. Middle schoolers are a whole ‘nother ball game, and that took adjusting. I also found I had to adjust to the difference in expectations of me between schools. See, one of my schools has me actually planning activities and lessons on my own (albeit usually on activities they asked me to have them practice/learn about), while my other school just wanted me to run certain activities they planned into their lessons themselves. (Realistically this looks like them handing me a paper with directions in the beginning of class and quickly explaining what they want me to do. Not much freedom there.)
The actual living in France started out a bit rough, as I had horrible luck finding somewhere to live and spent my entire first month and a half in France completely stressed because of this. I ended up in a foyer des jeunes, which is basically an overpriced dorm room, which was not ideal, but it is somewhere to live. After that things started to improve. I got the swing of things at school. I travelled to Munich, Prague, Florence, and explored the Alsace region. Living by myself I was not able to practice my French as much as I wanted, but at least I was in France, in the beautiful city of Strasbourg. It’s funny, though. When I first got here in mid-September it seemed like I had all the time in the world to do everything I wanted. Now, though, its March 11th, and I have only two months until my year here is over. Now I have to figure out what comes next, and that is harder than I ever thought it’d be. I have so many options of things that maybe possibly could make me happy, but I don’t know what is right.
If I get approved to renew my contract, I could spend another eight months here. The pros of this are that I’m already familiar with the program, could continue to travel and speak French.
If by some miracle I get a lectrice position I could spend 1-2 more years here. The pros of this are pretty much the same as above, except I’d get a higher salary.
If I apply for jobs teaching French back home, I could get an apartment, spend time with my friends and family there, pay off some of my student loans, and maybe save up money for a grad program here. But if I choose this option will I realistically be able to come back? Or will I have too many ties keeping me down?
But which is right? I sure don’t know. Any thoughts, readers?