It’s week 4 of classes, so on Thursday, I will have officially been teaching as a lectrice for a month! With the semester already a third of the way over, I thought’d I share my first impressions of working in this new role. What is a lectrice you ask? Well it’s like a university lecturer. It’s a teaching role with no research and you usually need a master’s degree in order to be considered eligible. Since I am a lectrice d’anglais, I am a native English speaker and I teach English language classes!
After working as a language assistant for the past two years in French secondary schools I didn’t have quite as much responsibility as I do now (click here to learn about all my teaching jobs in France!). Instead of taking small groups from other teachers’ classes, I have my own classes of 15-40 students. I prepare all of my lessons, exams, and I get to grade the student work. Most of my classes are between 15 and 25 students, which is manageable, but I am struggling to engage my bigger classes as it is harder to build a community with a bigger group and get them to refocus when changing activities. I haven’t had much grading to do yet since in French universities there aren’t as many grades as in Secondary schools. For example, in most of my classes the students just have two written exams and an oral presentation.
In French high schools some of the classes I worked with were LV (langue vivante) 1 (1 for their first foreign language) LV2 (2 for their second foreign language), LV1 section européenne or littérature for the terminales (seniors) and in the private middle school the only special class I helped with was a bilingual French-English writing class.
Here at the university, I am teaching classes in the Letters and Human Sciences school for the departments of English, Applied Foreign Languages, History, and Geography. This semester I am only teaching L1s and L2s( first and second year students, the L stands for License (kinda like a bachelor’s degree, but only 3 years). For the English department I am teaching a practical phonetics course ( another professor is teaching them the theory, I cover pronunciation and transcription exercises), and a French to English translation class. For the applied languages I teach “labs” which are conversation classes. And for the non-specialists, History and Geography I review grammar and try to find interesting history and geography topics to read and talk about. There is also another British lectrice that works here and teaches for these different departments.
Having a university schedule is pretty nice becuase I don’t have to be on campus all the time! I also have Fridays off which gives me some extra time to travel or rest on the weekend. I do have to be careful with this schedule finding a work/life balance because I will often find myself working at home after class or on a Sunday prepping for the next classes. Mondays and Tuesdays are my toughest days, with 4 classes each, then on Wednesday I teach 1 class and on Thursday I finish off with 2. My classes are between 1 and 1.5 hours long.
Working with university students great because you don’t have to worry about behavior management (except maybe in some larger classes). Most of the students are interested in what you’re teaching and they have a great level of English so discussing deeper topics is possible. It can be a little bit more of a struggle with the non-specialists though, who tend to have quite a mixed level of English, hence the grammar reviews I do. The other lectrice and I also get to run the English club on campus, where we will be hosting events like conversation tea parties, pub quizzes, movie nights, and language exchanges.
Overall, I am enjoying being a lectrice. It’s been exhausting getting used to the new job and learning the ropes, but it feels good to be more than just an assistant. Planning my curriculum and teaching four days a week has hard to get used to, but I’m thankful for the school vacation coming up soon!
Thanks for reading about my lectrice experience so far! Make sure to follow my blog for future lectrice updates and adventures in the South of France!
Bisous et à bientôt !