As I mentioned in my previous post, time is a-ticking down to my year abroad. But before I start packing (which I’ll probably do the night before while being highly emotional and belting out “The Fields of Athenry”), I kind of need to … make a decision.
I have two options (if confused, please read here, thank you very much). I have two really exciting and different options to choose from, and I’m a little stuck. I think I know I’m leaning towards the teaching assistantship, but I’m afraid I’ll miss out if I don’t do the Erasmus.
I won’t go into the exact details, but there was a little pressure on me to make a decision. There is a girl in my class that is willing and ready to take my University spot if I take the teaching job. I know I shouldn’t let her influence my decision, as it is just that. My decision. But I also know there’s already loads of paperwork to do already, so I don’t want to leave it to the last minute for her.
What I decided.
When I first heard about this year abroad on Maynooth’s open day, I wasn’t even in college and I knew what I wanted to do. Between the option of going to college in France, or working as a language assistant in either a primary or secondary school, the teaching option instantly had me. My plan always was to be a teacher, but that went by the way-side when I discovered my love of languages. The teaching post would offer me both; a taste of teaching while maintaining mon amour pour la langue.You work 12 hours a week, you get PAID, and it’s a year of no lectures and no assignments. Which will basically let me brain go to mush for a year and I am fully okay with that.
On the application, you choose 3 régions from France to work in; I chose Rennes, Nanes and Versailles. Why? I have no idea. I mean, they gave you the map of France and told you to pick 3 places, when I know nothing about them. My process of selection was simple. I wasn’t picking Paris because I had heard it is very expensive to live in. Paris was the only place I have been to in France, so everywhere else was fair game. I Googled image all the other régions, looked at which ones had their own airport and went from there.
The next option on the application was the school; primary or secondary. I’ve been a dance teacher in my local organisation for about 8 years now, and so I’ve worked with all ages. And I can tell you… I hate teenagers. Do you know how hard it is to get them enthusiastic about … anything? And I know what I used to say about my teachers in school, so I picked primary school. Little kids are always so funny. They will also have less English, and a bigger desire to learn than teenagers, so hopefully the classes will be simpler, easier, and a way to improve my French too.
Even though I’m studying English and French now, the big plan was to always end up in teaching. So this is the perfect way to find out if I would actually enjoy it or not.
Another reason I am drawn to the teaching job is because it is a year away from college. In Ireland, a lot of schools have a year called Transition Year, which comes before your final exams, the Leaving Cert. During this year, you do basically nothing. You do projects and some work, but not much. I let my brain die during the year only using it to decide what film I was going to watch that night, and by the time September came around for me to start studying for my Leaving Cert, I was honestly excited at the thought of studying.
When I come back from France I will be in my Final year of college, and I think doing the teaching assistantship will give me that year to let my brain die, and to de-stress me. I’m not going to lie and say I don’t put effort into college, because I do. I’ve worked hard for the last four years, and I’m looking forward to not working academically next year. I feel I need to give myself the year to just live, without a deadline hanging over my head. I can’t wait to just read, and write, and eat, and relax.
My only concern about the teaching would be the social aspect. When you go to a university, you’re surrounded by people. Constantly. They’re everywhere. So in a sense, you’re kind of forced to talk to people and lo and behold, you have made friends. If I’m going to be a teaching assistant, I will be surrounded by either a) primary school children, or b) real life adults who are real life teachers, and I am c) a poor student. I worry that it might be lonely or I won’t make friends, buuuuut I was put in contact with someone who is over in France right now on the language assistant exchange, and he says there are plenty of other assistants over there too. So that’s a bit of a relief.
I started this post a few days ago, before I had made my decision, but you can probably tell that as I haven’t really talked about the Erasmus that I chose to do the teaching assistantship. I messaged the girl who wants my university place and let her know, so tomorrow we are going to the international office to sort it all out. So as of now, I am going to be a language assistant!
The only thing that annoys me about this process is that I won’t know where I’m going to be until June/July. In a few weeks I will hear what région I will be in, but that’s no good to me as I can’t start the accommodation hunt. BUT! As soon as I do, I will update here.
And I’m going to be honest … I am so excited now that I have made my decision! I can’t wait to go over there now, see the school, where I’ll live and just … makes me smile. October can’t come soon enough.
Has anyone else had a similar decision to make? What did you pick in the end; study or work?