Today’s photo shows some flowers along the canal that runs through the middle of the town of Dreux. It is really a very charming spot.
I arrived here last Wednesday, and it is an interesting place. I told you about the research I’ve done, and it’s half true, from what I can tell right away. On Wednesday mornings there is a market just behind the high school, and every single person was wearing traditional Muslim dress—headscarves and robes and everything. This was definitely a bit of a culture shock for me.
The town, however, looks quite nice. The downtown area is pretty, and there are some historical monuments. The homes in the area look neat and clean, and the neighborhood looks well kept. One benefit of living in this area however is the cost of living—the local supermarket is surprisingly inexpensive, and I don’t anticipate spending a lot of money on food.
I am living in the apartment on the school’s campus and it is quite nice. My room is big and bright, and I have a nice view of the courtyard of the school. There is also a living room with a TV (it’s been interesting to watch French television). The kitchen is terrible. It smells funny, and there is nothing but a hot plate, a microwave, a mini-fridge, and a hot water machine. This will be interesting…I’m sure I will be making a lot of pasta and sandwiches…
I have two roommates. The first one is named is Jorge and he is from Paraguay. He is very nice and we get along fairly well, however neither his English, nor his French is very strong, but we mostly speak French to each other to practice our language skills. The second roommate’s name is Trevor, and he is from Canada. He is teaching at the local primary school in Dreux.
Everyone at the school is very nice. My resource teacher picked me up from the train station on Wednesday, and I liked her right away. She drove me around the town a little bit, and helped me open a bank account and fill out all the administrative paperwork. The other teachers all very nice too. Most of them are younger as well, and are not originally from Dreux, so they are all friends and hang out together. Some of the older ones live in Chartres, a bigger town not too far away from here, and they have offered to take me there if I want.
On Thursday and Friday, I went in to some of the classes and it was an interesting experience to say the least. The first class I went to was a tough group of students—they are not very motivated, and are only taking English because they are required to for a test they need to take in order to get their diploma. They were funny kids, but rowdy and sometimes rude. The second class was much better. These students were younger, but more motivated and are in advanced classes. They were very enthusiastic about speaking English, and were eager to talk to me and ask me questions. My resource professor told me she’d love it if I could just assist with classes like that, because they are fun and the students are more motivated, but unfortunately, there are classes that need more help and more practice, so I will have a mixture of both. Today was my first official day of teaching, and I went to three classes—again, it was a mixture of classes of very strong students, and classes of very weak, unmotivated students. I know that those classes are going to be difficult, not because of their weak level of English, but their lack of motivation to learn. I am hoping to figure out a way to make them more excited about speaking English, as time goes on.
Anyway, that’s all for now. I am currently sitting in McDonald’s (again) in order to use the internet, since we are still having internet trouble at home…À demain!