Teaching in France with Service Anglais

Teaching in France with Service Anglais Me (in the pink skirt) and my fellow stagaires

This article was written by Caroline Cropper, published on 29th January 2013 and has been read 3684 times.

Caroline spent her year abroad in Milan and Boulogne-sur-Mer and, having graduated, is now back in France as a Service Anglais secondary school Assistante in Montaigu, in the Pays de la Loire region, and living with a host family. Here's more about why she chose Service Anglais and what's involved...
Life can be peculiar sometimes. And delightfully ironic. For instance, I did NOT want to go on my compulsory year abroad. The idea of a year away from my family and friends very nearly broke me. Not even the idea of living in Milan could cheer me up. I did not want to go. I loved Britain too much.

Two years later, I couldn’t get out my beloved Britain fast enough. The year that very nearly broke me actually became the year that very much made me. That year was spent in Milan (9 months as a British Council secondary school English assistant and Boulogne-sur-Mer (5 weeks on an intensive French course) and it was rather begrudgingly that I returned to my university to finish my degree. Now I had a taste of travelling, I wanted more: the idea of a return to France being particularly appealing, having only spent 5 weeks there.

The Service Anglais provided me with that opportunity, and the chance to fulfil a burning desire. This is a local government scheme, a part of the Syndicat Mixte Montaigu Rocheservière, is now in its 26th year and provides teaching experience in secondary or primary schools around the area. Having braved the weather to attend an interview in Grimsby, I was lucky enough to be chosen as of the five stagaires for this year. Once I again, I would be working as an English assistant at secondary level, this time in a collège and in a lycée in Montaigu, near Nantes. Much like the British Council scheme this has provided me with valuable practical experience, above all in the more complex aspects of teaching: lesson plans for one!

While there is one secondary assistant, the other four stagaires work in local primary schools, introducing the French children to a variety of different topics, with the aim of sharing our culture and language. These topics include schools in Britain, Hallowe'en and the Royal Family. We even aim to challenge the long-held stigma over British food! The five stagaires also undertake a number of projects together, our 'temps forts', the biggest of the which is the Pantomime before Christmas. Past shows have included such classics as 'Aladdin', 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'Cinderella'. This year saw our own interpretation of 'Hansel and Gretel', with a simple English to suit our audience and much audience participation! This was a great success, playing to a full house every night! Our next project will be our soirée cuisine, again aiming to challenge some of the preconceived notions about our food... with a little Irish twist!

The unique, and winning, bonus of this scheme is the chance to live with three different host families. It is through living with the families that the stagaires can truly experience the French culture and the way of life. This total immersion also serves to improve you language skills much more than any book could every manage, and I, for one, know I have made so much progress already, without even realising it!

Whether you're on your year abroad or, like me, looking for a post-graduation challenge, the Service Anglais scheme has something to offer everyone.

You can contact Caroline directly with any questions via twitter: @britlostabroad and via her tumblr blog.

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