30 août, 2008

The Days of my Lives

Yes, yes, I'm aware it's not so much Sunday as Saturday, but this will just have to do. Pretend it's Sunday, you're creative, you can do it. Anyways, I just wanted to update on my situmacation with the new school. I called the other girl who will be doing the other 3 hours of the 7 total and I got the scoop. Basically, she was supposed to do all 7 hours, but because of a scheduling problem with another school she's working at, she just can't fit it in. Like I said, I'm sure they went to me last because there are 4 other people they could have asked and some or all of them already work at the college/lycee. So, I'm thinking they must not have room in their schedules, though I'm hoping this isn't the case in case I just can't do this. I have since calmed down a bit since my last post as I learned a bit more about what these 4 hours would entail.

Ok, here's what I know. It's working with a group of 20 6th graders who have gone through testing to be chosen into this special program designed for kids with a very high level of English. It is 7 hours per week all with the same class. They have a text book and will be using English not only within the whole linguistic scheme, but also to learn about American history and other subjects all in English. The history part is another teacher that would be doing that with them, though. Phew. This is a new program that is starting for the first time this year and it means the kids will eventually be able to go on and take a special BAC. I'm not sure if the kids also have English with their regular teacher, but in any case, this is definitely not your run of the mill, regular 6eme English class.

This all still scares me a bit and, I don't think I mentioned it before, my old school maybe wants me to do an extra hour and 15 mins more than last year. Literally the only time I have free is Wednesday 8h15-9h15(I found out the kids start at 8h15 and end at 16h30 and do Wednesday mornings) and Friday* afternoon from 13h30-16h30. However, if the old school wanted me to do an extra 1h15, the only place I could fit it would be on the Friday afternoon, meaning there would be no way for me to fit in those 4 hours the new school wants me to do. It's frustrating not knowing my exact schedule, though, because a lot of this is info I've sort of made up(the amount of time being the only thing I know for sure.) For example, the Wednesdays at the university, I said that it would be one week 10h-12h and the next 10h-12h and 14h-16h. This is not at all set in stone, it's what the guy estimated because he doesn't know yet when the university students will have free(I do know it will be on Wednesdays, though, at least!) If, for whatever reason, they had to move it to 9h-11h, I'd be F'ed. Also, I won't have my schedule at the new school until this Tuesday, so I know that I'll probably be with the little kids M,T, R&F mornings and I've taken it upon myself to try to squeeze CP&CE1 into 2 afternoons(that I've temporarily put on Mondays and Thursdays.) However, it depends on when the teachers can do it. Also, 1 class of CP and 1 class of CE1 have international students who have special classes with international teachers and I am supposed to work around their schedules, ie when they work with the international kids, I am supposed to work with the rest of the class, so that the entire class would be gone at the same time. Yeesh. Once I know my schedule at the new school, I have to make my schedule at the old school. As it stood before, I was going to do the old school in one afternoon when I was sure it was just 2h30. Now that it might be 3h45, I would have to do the 1h15 during the 4th afternoon which leads to the aforementioned probs with doing the 6eme classes. Not to mention not knowing the exact sched at the university as well as 2 families waiting on my sched info for tutoring their kids. This is probably not clear to anyone but me, but let's just suffice to say it's complique.

Basically, I need to call the old school on Monday and see if the prinicpal knows how many hrs they would want me there. Also, if he can tell me if he knows if there is an afternoon the 4 teachers can absolutely not do. Then, if he says it's 3h45, I'll know I can't do the 6eme classes. If it's 2h30, I'll have to set my schedule with the maternelle&primaire teachers and then see if there's a way that I could end class around 16h10 instead of 16h30 to be able to still work with the bro/sis. And, then somewhere in there, I'll have to decide if I want to do the 6eme classes and be really squeezing everything in together for something that I don't necessarily want to do, but would help out the school that's providing my CDS. Ok, because I'm now SURE none of that made sense to anyone, I'm going to do a mock schedule for you, dear reader, and me both.

NS=New School
OS=Old School
T1=Tutoring bro/sis
T2=Tutoring sis/bro

8h __ __ __ __ __
9h NS NS __ NS NS
12h __ __ U __ __
13h NS OS __ NS OS*
14h NS OS U NS OS*
15h NS OS U NS __
16h NS OS U NS __
17h T1 T2* T1 T1
18h T1 T2* T1 T1

Now do you see what I mean? Plus, not included in there is travel time and photocopying time which as it is will be tight and have to be done either before school or during breaks. So, to add 4 hours would be kinda nuts. I've got some serious schedule organizing and figuring out to do. I'll keep you updated on the days of my lives in a moment...

29 août, 2008


So, the new school keeps adding on to my hours which, at first, was a very pleasant surprise. More teaching time with varied levels=more experience as well as a better salary. However, I really don't know how it's going to work out. I don't think it's actually possible. Plus, while I'm glad to be teaching from Petite Section through CE1(aka 5 levels aka 2.5 to 7 yr olds), the latest addition would be teaching 6th graders which does NOT dit me at all. I found the 5th graders to be already getting towards that middle school attitudey age towards the end of the year, so I can just imagine 6th graders. Plus, even more important than that, I don't really like teaching lots of grammar. Plus, plus, that's a HUGE responsibility to be in charge of their learning English...I don't know anything about the curriculum nor do I have experience. It's just so different fromn the little ones. Ay, ay, ay. On top of all of that, I wanted to keep my bro/sis tutoring students from last year which I wouldn't be able to do because I have to be at their school AT 16h30. I'm already not able to do my tutoring of the mom/son which I feel bad enough about, but I at least told her I didn't know for sure. I told the mom of the bro/sis kids that I could do it which I would have been able to still even after I got those 4 more hours on top of what I was originally told. Now with 8 hours it wouldn't even be possible.

Oh merde, I just realized, do college kids have school on Wednesdays? Or do they have half days? This is getting to be so complique! I have a committment starting in October and it's for classes at a university which would be something like 10-12 one week and 10-12 & 14-16h another week. I could, in theory, do 8h-9h on Wednesdays and then 13h30-16h30 on Fridays(of course the kids would have to be free then and I don't know when they have school til.) I don't even know how it works, though. I know there is someone else doing 3 hrs with them. So if 7 hours means 7 classes once per week, that would be fine. However, if it was 7 classes and twice a week, then the other teacher and I would have to share some of the same classes since I could only do 1 hour on Wednesdays and that's just not the best idea in the world. The school has a special program, so I can't really research it, unfortunately. So, I am slightly (and that's clearly a huuuuuge under exaggeration) flipping out. Because if I could fit it in and they can't find someone else, it's gonna mean I'll be working 9h-18h30 4 days of the week and 9h-16h30 the other day. Yes, there are breaks in there, so it's still under a 35 hr workweek, but still, teaching all that time is exhausting. I probably shouldn't complain as my American counterparts have to work many more hours than the French teachers, but still, 30 hrs of teaching is a lot for me. I really think I'm going to have to politely decline, it just seems like I'd be really sacrificing a lot of things for something I don't want to even do in the first place. But, I'm thinking they only offered it to me (someone new and only at the primary level) because no one else could do it.

I hate to cause problems before I even start, but I'm gonna have to let them know asap because the principal said I'd be starting next Friday! She also kinda didn't really give me a chance to say no by casually throwing in something along the lines of as long as ca me convient. I did say that I was still working at my old primary school, so I couldn't do it if that was at jeopardy, but that's only a few hours. I clearly didn't really think it through until after (hence this rant) and now I'm stressing. I just can't, though. I already have to prepare stuff for 5 levels at one school, 2 levels at the other(these kids are less advanced, so they'll be learning different things), 2 different fields of study at the university and then tutoring stuff for the bro/sis as well as possibly another sis/bro. Admittedly, the tutoring stuff is just a question of taking the time to go through my materials and copying a few things that I could use with them, so it takes little planning, but stillllll. I think I will try to email the girl who's doing the other 3 hours and get some info from her about Wednesdays and what time they start and finish school. Feels good to let this all out and I guess I should consider myself lucky I even have all these jobs to consider in the first place. I wish I could give some of these away!

Butterflies and kitty torture

Though from my posts it sounds as if I did little to nothing when I was at home (ok, maybe I didn't do thaaat much, but still), I forgot to mention my little outing with my maman. Towards to end of my trip, my mom brought up the idea of going to Magic Wings which is a place in Western Mass. that's a covered sort of greenhouse where butterflies live and you can walk around. To be honest, I wasn't that keen on going at first since I'm not specifically butterfly-ey in any way. However, I decided to tag along since I only had a week left with my mama and wanted to spend some Q time with just her.
To my surprise, it was actually pretty cool, you walk in and you're literally surrounded by butterflies. They're flying directly in front, behind and to the left and right of you. They even will land on you, though usually briefly, as they're so used to humans. My mom had one on her toe and I had a few land on my head. I was actually a little scared to walk/move as I feared squishing one of those little buggers by accident. No butterflies were harmed in the taking of these pictures, though, don't worry. I would definitely go back, especially when there are fewer people around and I could just sit in one of the gazebos or on one of the benches tranquillement and just enjoy nature. Plus, there was a Yankee Candle compound (pretty much) not too far down the road and as I love being overwhelmed by 5,000 scents all at once, that's always a fun time...or not. I did like their Christmas village, though it was completely overwhelming and I literally almost ran into Santa when I was turning a corner. But, that's a story for another time. Also, they have a neat restaurant lit all by candlelight (what else?) that we had dinner at. All in all a nice day spent with the moms. Oh, and the second photo is of a butterfly with its' wings closed, doesn't it look just like a leaf?
Now to the kitty torture. My sis and I saw this at Target when I was home and as we both have cats that we find adorable, we thought what would be even more adorable than a cute cat disguised as a fish? Lily, her kitty, literally held her head in shame and wouldn't look at us after my sis put it on. Sienna first gave me a death glare (see above) then tried to literally back out of that sucker(also see above.) Too bad it was velcroed on, dudette. This is what happens when I have too much free time on my hands spent waiting for news. Kitty torture. Oh, and just for kicks I've thrown in a pic of my new comp, Solange who is gorgeous and shiny-new. Sorry Serge, she's won my heart.

25 août, 2008

Mattress Musings and a Pet Peeve

So, I'm back in Rennes enfin. I could have easily missed my flight since I got to the airport only an hour before my flight(a bunch of traffic and a little getting lost on the way to Newark from CT), but luckily there weren't many people going through security, so I made it with a few mins to spare. I was a bit stressed considering I'm the girl who gets to the airport like an hour early just to be sure I have enough time and/or won't be rushed. I had to say a quick bye to the fam and then was off back to my second home in France. The flight went by pretty fast (love those direct flights!) especially since I had a really good book to read(Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, in case you're wondering.) Now I'm back to the ole rigamarole of pursuing the ever-evasive tarte de mesjours (I daren't utter the word!) which will probably mean several trips to the dreaded Trefecture to convince them I'm an asset to their country. Umm, yeah, we'll see how that goes. Pretty much more of the waiting game, I'm waiting for the boss lady to call me back because she's in a RDV which makes me nervous because she used to always conveniently be "in a RDV" when I was harrassing, I mean, calling her back in July to get more info about the poste.

I also have to go for an interview to see about this other job that would be teaching classes to university students and teaching them how to interview in English, write CVs and other job-related things in the anglophone world pertaining to their studies. It sounds really interesting and it's more hours to tack on in my goal to be as close to the French 35 hr work week as possible. As it stands, if I get all the jobs I'm planning on getting, I will have 5 jobs that will total about 30 hours. One is working for the same primary school as last year teaching 5&6 yr olds, another is tutoring a brother/sister in English, my main job working in a primary school with 2.5-7 yr olds, another tutoring job teaching a sister/brother in English and then the job at the university. I'm hoping to connect with the guy at the university soon, but every time I call, he isn't into work yet which leads me to my pet peeve. I called this morning and the lady who answered said "oh non he won't be in until the afternoon, bien sur" (insert patronizing tone that says "duh, idiota, you should know that!") I'm sorry I don't know his schedule by heart lady seeing as this is the first time I've called him and he just said "give me a call" with no specific day or time. Jeez! So, I called back at 14h and her response was that he was "pas du tout there, it's only 14h, why don't I call back in an hour, he should be there then." I swear to dog if he isn't in at 15h30, I'm gonna jump through the phone and clock that lady. I guess it's possible for her to have no clue when he's coming in, but why does she have to act like I'm ridiculous for asking if he's there every time I call? This wouldn't bother me so much if it were the first time I've encountered this strange reaction when you call looking for someone at a place of business. But, I've definitely experienced this before and it gets on my nerfs. Grr. Ok...back to waiting.

PS-I just got a new mattress and box spring while I was gone (a friend works for a company and got me a good deal) which is exciting because no one likes to sleep on two mini beds at different levels...or at least I assume that's not just me, anyways. While I'm grateful to my pote, I find the mattress to be pretty hard. I know hard is supposed to be better than soft, but still, it's kinda uncomfortable. Do any of you know if such a thing as like an egg crate or one of those soft down layer thingies exists in France? I asked a couple Frenchies and they thought no...but I'm thinking you expats might know for sure. Help!?!

Update: I finally got through to the dude at the university (the same lady I talked to before was this time surprisingly pleasant ps, quoi?) and I have an entretien demain which is bon. Then, bad/good news about the school, bad news being that I won't be able to meet up with them until the end of this week, good being that it looks like I should have 3 or 4 more hours than prevu'd!

21 août, 2008


So, with all my newly found blogger friends on fbook(hi!, hey! and hello!), I thought about all (and by all, I mean maybe 1 or 2) those readers out there who've been reading my blog all this time without the pleasure of knowing what my lovely face looks like. I found this on another blog and played around with it to formulate the visage above. It def has a likeness and, for those of you I don't know IRL and/or on fbook, it will have to do. For those of you I know and/or friends on fbook, is it my sosie or what?

19 août, 2008

Two years

2 years, baby! Seems like just yesterday that I decided to put a blog out there to share my whining and complaining, I mean, story with you. There have definitely been some high highs and some low lows, but I'm happy to say I got through it all ok in the end. I head back to the France this Thursday which is both happy and sad. I'm happy to get back, but it's always sad to leave my family behind. Although, I won't be 100% sure that I'm staying until I get that recepisse in my mains. I will keep you updated, of course. And, if I do stay, expect even more randomness and shenanigans to come. Happy Bloggiversary to me!!

16 août, 2008

Mamma Mia!

All is bon here in the states. I've been hanging out with the fam(rents, sis and aunt), went to a b-day part for my twin second cousins, made cards and went shopping for jeans(about freakin time...holey jeans no more!) and other bits. Then, this past weekend, I went to see Mamma Mia!, here I go again, my, my, how could I resist ya?...sorry, I couldn't help myself! I think you have to like musicals in film form to enjoy it, but if you do, it's a really fun film. It made me want to be IN a musical again(I used to do them in school) and also go to Greece. My sis already bought the soundtrack and we've been Mamma Mia-ing for the last few days aka randomly busting out into song whilst talking. She was actually singing during a good portion of the movie...I guess she couldn't help herself. It's very, very singalong-able. I mean, the cheese factor is there, but what musical doesn't have some cheese in it? I dunno if/when this movie is coming to France, but I highly recommend it! And if you're in the states, go see it soon! That's my update for now, will post again soon...ish.

09 août, 2008

Delurking Day

So, I don't know about you other bloggers, but I find it pretty interesting and sometimes amusing to see how people find my blog. Most times people come from other blogs, but there are still quite a few people coming from random google searches. I have compiled a list of some of my favorite searches people have done to end up on my blog. I have a feeling the majority of these people didn't find what they were looking for and I doubt they're normal readers of my blog, but if you are, delurk yourself! Actually, if anyone that's a normal reader wants to go ahead and delurk themselves, that'd be great too. I know there are regular readers in the US, the UK, France, Canada and Germany and I don't know who you are! Don't be scurred if you're not a blogger, I was once not a blogger (circa 2 years ago) and reluctantly made my first comment on a blog I was reading. Even now, I still sometimes prefer to hang behind the scenes and not comment until I work up the courage and/or feel I have something relevant to say which, as we all know, is not (ahem) necessarily that often. Anyway, I'd love to hear from you! In the meantime, here are some of my favorite google searches...

Avril sucks Leah
Umm, I believe I wrote WHY avril sucks and not who. Gross. I'm (not so) sad to say that this ain't the Leah you're lookin for, buddy, sorry!

The certificate of roller coasters
I'm thinking I was probably saying something about a roller coaster of emotion(knowing myself), not talking literally about them. Sorry again, I happen to work in schools, not amusement parks.
Furious kitty Rennes, France
Ok, this one. I don't remember saying my kitty was furious, but why, praytell, are you searching to find a very angry cat in Rennes?
Leah's blog
I'm sure there must be other Leahs out there with a blog, so I just looked on google and I wasn't even in the first 10 pages, so that means this person was actually looking for my specific blog which is really, very, extremely CRAZY. I apologize for the nonsense this person fell upon when they actually read my blog.

Super U France
This is the search that people do most often and end up at my blog. I know I did a post complaining about Super U changing around the store's set-up and most likely complaining in general. Sorry to disappoint all you Super U fans.
The eternal part of a cat
What exactly is the eternal part of a cat? Oh wait, you probably don't know hence why you did the search. I would love to be enlightened. My guess would be eternal independence?
Lady on unicycle performance
I would not be surprised knowing how random I am that I had mentioned unicycles, but all that together? It is true that since moving to Rennes, I have never seen more people on unicycles in my life, but did I mention that?
So, there ya go, why people get sucked into, I mean, get interested in my blog. Who knew I was so versatile? Now go and delurk yourselves, people!!