As you read from the title, I’m returning to France for the school year (yet again). I’ll be teaching for a second year as a lectrice d’anglais in the Lyon region, and I’ll be pretty much doing the same things I did this past year, e.g. working, traveling, meeting new people, seeing old friends, etc.
I’ll address the title’s latter point later in this post– for now, I want to talk about the changes I hope to make not only in terms of work, but also myself for this year. This isn’t anything new, as I’ve been doing this every year before the start of my job, partly as means to stay organized, partly as means to motivate myself. These “goals” (as you might call them) end up tapering by the time November comes, but at least I can say that they have helped me get a solid footing into the start of the school year– after that, it’s just routine.
Not going to lie, my first year as a lectrice was challenging. Much of it was due to the fact that I was getting used to a new teaching environment, while also juggling curriculum planning, administrative work, and overall adjusting to a new city. Being new, as well as unfamiliar with the university, caused me to struggle in the classroom, mainly in terms of discipline and instruction.
That said, I hope to make things different this year. I plan to completely revamp my curriculum– I don’t plan to reuse much (if any) of the materials from last year and just start fresh. Granted, it’s a lot of extra work for me, but I actually care about doing a good job and helping the students become better in English– whether they’re at the rudimentary level or near-fluent. I also intend to be stricter when it comes to grading and classroom management, as I really need to focus on them this year.
We’ll see how it all works out: I don’t expect it to be a miracle, but at least I can hope for more respect. After all, it’s common sense: if you respect me, I’ll respect you. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Simple as that. There’ll be struggles this year teaching, I’m sure, but things will work out in the end, whether in our favor or not.
In terms of myself, I hope to improve myself this year when it comes to personal relations. Whether it’s with my students, colleagues, or friends, I’m intent on being more open and honest. Especially when there are many times when I prefer just to do my own thing, it’s important to maintain interpersonal connections to remain happy, all the while make a good impression.
Now time to address the title’s latter point…
My return this year marks my fourth year living and working in France. Aside from the work, I’ve greatly enjoyed the perks of working as a teacher to have many vacation days to travel Europe. I’ve caught the travel bug hard: when I’m not working, I’m either out of town or making plans to go out of town as soon as I possibly can. If anything, these soon-to-be four years were more about traveling than teaching, and I’m really glad that I’ve gotten to see a huge majority of Europe, meet many awesome people, and see so many cultures– I definitely plan to travel a lot this year as usual, with the top-three countries on my bucket list being the Ukraine, Georgia, and Turkey.
However, while I would love to keep traveling around Europe, I know that it isn’t sustainable, considering my job is contractual and not possible to renew after the end of next summer. Even so, I believe that I’m reaching that point where I don’t want to continue teaching…period.
I’ve actually had this sentiment since the end of my first year teaching, but I continued with it since I didn’t know what other job I would want to do otherwise, and I wanted to keep traveling Europe. At this point, though, I’m very certain that I have no desire to teach (anywhere, not just in France), and I desire a career change. I have more qualifications (e.g. teaching/living abroad experience, a Master’s degree) compared with three years ago, so I’m sure there’s something out there for me.
I’m not completely ruling out staying in France after this year– however, it’s a matter of finding a non-teaching job, which is significantly harder to find and be sponsored as a non-EU citizen. That’s why it’s more realistic to find something back home, where I have more networks and opportunities. Granted, Los Angeles is massive and intimidating, and there are some things I don’t like about it…but it’s always been home even abroad, and I’d love to stay in it. Sure, it’s ridiculously expensive, but I’d work for it!
Any case, these are my *various* thoughts I’ve been ruminating over this summer, before I head back to France. I’m sure my perspective will change over the year, so it’ll be interesting to see how it is when I look back on this post next summer. Until then, I’ll enjoy my fourth (maybe final?) year in France– cheesy as it sounds, I plan to go all-out with travel, all the while continuing to meet new people, discover new cultures and places, and improve myself in the long run.
I appreciate you reading all the way to this point– it’s a mess of thoughts, but something I’ve wanted to express for a while. I’ll update more as this year progresses!