Saying goodbye

My first regular classes were on Tuesday July 6th. I had three classes – Groupe Prima at 9:00, Sandra at 11:00 and Groupe Lazaar at 1:30.

Today was my last day with these students, and it feels a little strange to know that my time with them is already over.

For Groupe Prima I prepared a lesson about Paris, starting with a podcast about an American girl’s view of Paris from podcastsinenglish.com, some extracts from Almost French by Sarah Turnbull, and part of an interview with Stephen Clarke about his new book – M is for Merde.

Unfortunately only Anne-Françoise showed up (I think this was due to today’s metro strikes). I was a little worried about only having one student – the success or failure of this lesson depended on the conversation, and I’d taken three extracts from Almost French so each student would have something to talk about.

Luckily it was a subject that interested Anne, and the conversation flowed easily, covering clichés, obesity, changing ways of life, table manners and even the court of Louis XIV.

I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t put as much effort into my next lesson with Sandra. As the last lesson was only an hour and she was at a lower level, we did exercises about stress from Market Leader Pre-Intermediate. Though, with a lot of urging her on through the grammar (past simple and present perfect verbs) and trying to figure out where our respective occupations would fit on a list of the most stressful occupations, it ended up being a pretty punchy hour.

Groupe Lazaar was the lesson that was really concerning me, for the following reasons:

  1. It had been one month since I last saw them, due to holidays
  2. We’d only had one lesson with both of the students together, so I wasn’t sure what the dynamic would be like (being the summer holiday period, I had seen Samya for three lessons and Florence for four)
  3. I don’t think Florence likes me much
  4. They were handing in their Fiches d’Appreciation (appreciation forms – used for student feedback) today, and I was worried I wouldn’t do well due to Florence not liking me and each of them missing a number of lessons

So I made an effort to plan, what I hoped was, an interesting and varied lesson. Knowing that Florence didn’t like Business English, I planned a lesson about food. We would start with a news lesson from Onestopenglish about the fall of Burger King, then I would give each of them a half-completed crossword to complete by giving each other clues for the missing words, then we would do some listening from a case study about Valentino chocolates from Market Leader Pre-Intermediate.

However, when I reached their office on rue Montmartre, Florence had lost her voice! My dreams of a lively final lesson filled with conversation and laughter had vanished – whenever Florence tried to say anything, every rasping wheeze was an effort.

So the news lesson didn’t work to well – we did it, but it was uncomfortably quiet – but the crossword ended up being a lot of fun. Anytime they tried to give clues or translations in French I’d call out “English!” and some of the descriptions they used were really unusual, if ineffective (Samya tried to describe ‘rice’ to Florence by talking about Rice Krispies).

I’ll let you know how I went on the Fiches d’Appreciation once the last couple have been sent to me – of the ones I received today, one was surprisingly good and another was disasterously bad, so hopefully the last couple bring the average back up.

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