Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'm in!

The email was there. Sitting in my inbox, the letters in bold, waiting for me to open it. I wasn't nervous as such, but I knew that if the email didn't contain those magic words then I would have to re-evaluate everything all over again. If I wasn't accepted, then I would have to find something else to do with my life, and that, having recently been proved, was not an easy feat.

My 6 month working contract at the Chateau de Versailles is finishing at the end of September and there seems to be no way they will be extending any of the contracts into the Autumn / Winter season. I gave up on trying to find a loophole a few months ago and realised it's about time I stop hopping from one short term contract to another. I want a title. I want to be like the other people who say 'I'm a nurse / firefighter / wedding planner / nun' rather than 'well, I worked as a waitress for 6 months and then I worked as a receptionist and now I'm a cashier'.

I'm ready to begin a career. I'm ready to become something.

When I read those words in the email: 'You have been accepted on our programme...' I literally climbed onto the sofa and jumped for joy. "What the hell are you doing?" FP asked as he saw me on the sofa, doing star jumps with a smile spread wide across my face. "I got in! I got in!" I called with glee, and he lifted me by the waist and spun me round and round. There was no doubt that he was as elated as I was. He didn't like the uncertainty of my life as a temp any more than I did.

It wasn't easy for me to work out what I wanted to do with my life. For some people it comes naturally. FP never understood how I could go to university when I was 17 to study Languages and Tourism when I had no idea what I wanted to do with my degree afterwards. He always wanted to be a software engineer, from the age of 8. But me, I had no idea, and even if I had known, I was a young and niave 17 year old and most probably would have made the wrong choice.

For the past couple of months I've been trying to work out what I was going to do this October when I find myself, once again, unemployed. I toyed with the idea of running my own business. A fashion shop online. A book store in Versailles. A travelling English book store for expats in Paris. But none of that came to fruition. There were the sensible ideas: Translator, Tour Operator, Tour guide. The less feasible : Events Planner, Air Hostess (FP vetoed that one out straight away due to his fear of planes crashing and whatnot), Writer*. And the downright daft : Private Detective, The Next Coco Chanel (after having watched Coco Avant Chanel and convincing myself 'I could do that'), Chocolate Taster.

But in the end I plumped for teaching.

And the TEFL (teaching English as a Foreign Language) training school has enrolled me in their November 09 class.

And even though I'm following so closely in my mother's footsteps (who lived in France and was an English assistant), I couldn't be happier about it.

*Just because making enough money by writing alone isn't going to come easy doesn't mean I will be giving up on it though. My ultimate goal is still to become a 'real' writer and I'm hoping if I work as a freelance English teacher then I'll be able to manage my time so that I can write too.


Crystal said...

hello! I've been reading your blog for a while, but have never posted a comment yet. First of all, congrats on being accepted into the course, although I'm curious. Do you really need the TEFL to apply for and get english teaching jobs? The reason I ask is that I have been an english teacher for adults for the past 3 years in France and have never had to have the TEFL. I'm currently teaching at a company near la Défense and my boss just seemed content with the fact that I am a native english speaker to hire me. I work full-time with a decent salary (much better than what the chain schools pay) and although I hate teaching, it's the only thing I've done so far that could be considered a "career".

I also aspire to be a "real" writer as you say, and I thought that teaching would allow me the free time to do that. Unfortunately, I spend so much time preparing lessons and being tired from the commute to work that any semblance of a writing career disappeared a long time ago! But that's my laziness problem!

I wish you all the best :)

Chouitie said...

Coolio and well done. This just the beginning. Conversely to Crystal, I actually have days when I enjoy teaching, but of course it's very dependent on the students. I find it gets easier as you go along and can re-use ideas to save time on planning. Also, I think it is good to have a proper qualification if you want to make teaching your career. If you don't do a course like the CELTA you can't progress to do further advanced qualifications in the future (eg. the DELTA which would allow you to teach people to become teachers, or perhaps a further course to teach children specifially) so I think you're doing the right thing.

Btw, do you intend to teach children or adults, and which course (CELTA?) are you doing (and where?!). Sorry, I'm just a bit nosey! Well done again, and good luck. I hope it'll be just what you've been waiting for.

Sally said...

Brilliant news! Congrats x

Loth said...

That's fantastic news. Well chuffed for you. (Little sample there of the sort of English you won't be teaching!)

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Hi Crystal it's a shame you couldn't make it out last night with Sam and Kendra but hopefully we'll get to meet up the next time! I think I'll venture into Paris sometime on my own (I've never done this before!) so hopefully we can all have a day / night out together.

As for the TEFL I just feel like I can't offer myself as an English teacher without ever having done teacher training. I'm sure I could find a job without the TEFL but I would then find myself completely lost and not knowing how to actually teach. At an interview for a teaching job (just one of those Acadomia things)I was told that just because my native language is English doesn't mean that I know how to teach it. And I guess that's true, particularly for my case. I used to think otherwise but when I tried to give lessons to a French friend and they asked about grammar or why we say one thing and not another I realised that to be able to teach someone English I need to first of all know how to teach and secondly to know the ins and outs of English. But I do know that there are people out there who a) understand the English language better than I do and b) who don't need a teacher training course in order to teach.

So in answer to your question (sorry it took me a while to get there!) the TEFL course is not necessarily to help me find a good job but more to prepare myself so that I don't enter a career with zero experience and not having a clue. Voila! =o)

Chouitie I'm glad you enjoy teaching because there seem to be a lot of expats in France who just fell into the teaching job and who really aren't happy with it. Not so reassuring! The course I'm doing is a TESOL (found here do you know the school or the course? I really hope I've made the right decision even though it's not a CELTA!

Sally Thanks!

Loth Haha, I suppose I'll need to cut out all the Scottish lingo from my student is going to understand 'pure dead brilliant', that's for sure!

Crystal said...

Well that's a great reason to do the course then! I suppose I felt "ready" to teach english because I have an english degree (linguistics and journalism) from uni, so I never had any worries about being able to teach grammar. Still, I learned a lot of stuff as I went, and was certainly not as confident as I am now in teaching as I was at the beginning. If you ever need any teaching pointers, or easy ways to explain grammar stuff, feel free to email me!

It would have been lovely to meet up with you last night too, but I'm sure Sam explained the problem I have ;) But, when I get back from Canada in 2 weeks, we should all definitely meet up in Paris!

Bon weekend!

doow said...

Congratulations! I wish I knew what I wanted to be be when I grow up ;-)

T.D. Newton said...

Sounds like a great idea. Congratulations on getting in.

Oh, and you'd BETTER NOT give up on becoming a "real" writer! I won't let you!!!