Warning: this is a very factual post and may feel a bit tedious.
I went back to work last Tuesday. In France on the first day only the teachers are expected to show up. We usually have all sorts of meetings about the coming year.
To begin with all the teachers were welcomed by the head and the deputy head and we listened to all sorts of news and guidelines – one of the topics was the possible outbreak of the swine flu. This was followed by a department meeting where we met two new English teachers – a young man and a woman in her forties.
In the afternoon I had to work out a few details with a colleague with whom I share two classes. We have the students in groups and felt it was wiser to agree on how the groups would be formed before meeting the studens for the first time. Finally there was a brief meeting for 10th grade teachers – 10th grade is the first class of the French lycée.
The next morning was devoted to welcoming the 10th graders. They meet their class tutors who explains more or less everything about the school (schedules, rules and discipline, who is who, …) Not being a tutor this year I stayed at home and worked.
I eventually met my first class on Thursday. I started with one of my two new classes, the students to whom I’ll be teaching Business English. There were 35 names on the list I had been given but only 31 students were present. I spent the first hour explaining what the course is about, what the English exams consists in and how we would work. For the next two hours the class was split into two groups and we started working: a pair-work activity so that they would get to know each other as they come from different lycées. The idea was also to revise a few basic English structures and tenses.
Although (or maybe because) these students are older than the others in the school and on a vocational course, they are not always easy to deal with and I was therefore a little apprehensive. Still I found them civil and willing while realizing that it takes more than one lesson to get to know a class. But when I met them again the next morning, it apeared that I still had the same feeling about their being cooperative and rather well-behaved. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.