A few weeks ago I received perhaps the most important document to date: my work contract (l’arrêté de nomination) ! Despite the fact that my work contract and packet of papers all read DIANA Wielgus instead of DANA, and I have been trying to get a corrected document, I am ecstatic to finally know EXACTLY where I will be teaching come fall.
I will be living and teaching in the city of Toulon.
I will be teaching specifically at LPO Rouvière, a French vocational high school. From what I have gathered from their school website, this school’s curriculum is basically the equivalent of the Wisconsin STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathmatics) curriculum, and is aimed at high school students who are planning to take their Baccalauréats (le bac) in various sciences or engineering fields, or have a goal of being accepted into one of France’s prestigious grandes écoles. Originally I was very nervous about teaching in an Engineering geared school, but I have to remind myself that I am the ENGLISH teacher and will (most likely) not be expected to assist with engineering classes. Additionally, I have been in contact with the coordinator at the school at which I will be teaching, and it seems that I will be most likely teaching students en 2ème & 1ère anées, et ceux en terminale (basically high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors); and I will be joining seven other English teachers. Unfortunately, they do not have housing provided for me, but have recommended me several areas in the city in which to look. I was also provided the contact information of the American assistant I am replacing. Although I have contacted her a few times, I have heard nothing so far. Hopefully she will get back to me soon (I’m curious to hear about her experience as an assistant, and perhaps receive leads on finding housing, which will for sure be the most daunting and intimidating task)! Thankfully I have found leads on Le Bon Coin (basically France’s version of Craigslist, though they have that too!) Originally I was sort of disappointed to have been placed so far from Nice (about 1.5 hours west) but this quaint city of 170,000 people is growing on me. Toulon is right on the Mediterannean Sea, and is a naval port city of Europe (so, lots of international people live on base!) I am right in between Nice and Marseille, and only a short train ride away from Aix-en-Provence, St. Tropez, Cannes, & Menton (not to mention… Italy & Monaco!) Additionally, ferries traveling to Corsica and Sicily leave daily from the Toulon ports, so I’m excited to have the opportunity to do those things. Finally, Toulon has a RyanAir (cheapest-piece-of-crap–budget-airline airport connecting to London.) Plus, I’m in the south of France, so it cannot be all that bad, right!? I like to keep in mind that I was about 1.5 hours from Paris when I lived in Caen, and I was perfectly happy. Here are a few pictures:
**Side Notes: Le Baccalaureat or “le bac” as it is more commonly refered is the equivalent of an American High School Diploma. However, instead of just completing a certain number of credits, le bac consists of a series of exams which focus on subjects the French students chose to pursue when the entered high school (and will continue to pursue at the university level). Les grandes ecoles (literally translated as “the higher schools” do not have an American equivalent- the closest would be ivy league schools. In France, every student who passes le bac has the right to attend any public university of his or her’s choosing. However, les grandes écoles are very selective and competitive, and focus generally on one area of study.