All posts filed under: featured

What to Expect as a Primary English Assistant : 8 Questions and Answers

After my first TAPIF placement in Chambéry, I noticed that much of the TAPIF blogging community focuses on assistants in secondary schools. This is completely normal, as there are far more people placed at the secondary level! There are many commonalities between the expectations and experiences of primary and secondary assistants; there are also many specifics that are quite different. So, I wanted to create a resource specifically for primary teaching assistants, since teaching in elementary schools comes with its own challenges and circumstances that aren’t talked about as often. I’m about to start my third year teaching primary level English, and in that time I’ve experienced many different types of classrooms, colleagues, and schools. I thought now would be a great time to update my initial Primary Assistant FAQ post to include some of the new insights and tips I’ve gained in my two years as a teaching assistant in the académies of Grenoble (Chambéry) and Aix-Marseille (Marseille), as well as anecdotes from the many primary assistants I know and have worked with. This …

Anne’s Essential Marseille : 5 walks

Over the past few months, I’ve had the great fortune of hosting friends and family in Marseille! During these visits, I developed a route that would take us through all of the “essentials” of the city: tourism sites, local culture, boats, beaches, etc. I decided to put all my favorites on a Google map, so you too can experience my personal Marseille tour in five walks. If you want to see everything on the map, you’ll need two or three days — unless you wake up at the crack of dawn and power walk your way through everything. But I don’t really recommend that… Walk I: Le Cours Julien to the Vieux Port This is always the first walk I take my guests on because I live near the very cool, bohemian neighborhood of Cours Julien, hence it’s always our de facto starting point. Here, the alleys are filled with local boutiques, restaurants and bars, and the walls are covered with ever-changing street art. I also love to take my guests through the Marché de …

11 mars – hiking aux Goudes

2:40 PM Text message from Mom: Now they are calling for a snow storm on Tuesday!! I may finally get a snow day off from school! Friday was just some flurries! 2:41 PM Reply: That’s crazy! Meanwhile, it’s 71 here and we’re heading to the beach… Kelsey and I met at the line 19 bus stop at 3:20 and ten minutes later we were off on our weekend excursion. On the program: A hike through Les Goudes, known as “le bout du monde” to the marseillais: the end of the world. An area along the southern coast of the city of Marseille, Les Goudes are right at the entrance to one of France’s National Parks, Le Parc National des Calanques. On our very crowded 45 minute bus ride past a stretch of commercial beaches filled with sun bathers, the 15 minute wait for a second bus, and 7 minute drive careening around winding coastal roads, we watched as the buildings and landscape changed shape around us. Where tall apartment buildings were, we now saw modest, fishing dwellings. …

So, do you like living here?

I am asked ALL THE TIME why I decided to come to France, if I like it (obviously), and what I like most about living here. Frankly, I think that’s a bit too complex and personal of a question to ask in such conversational contexts, but I usually come up with some generic answer about wine, cheese, how much I love speaking French and how much more calm and relaxed the style of life is here compared to the USA… things that are generally true but not the most accurate responses. I’ve always had a huge breadth of interests. Without trying to sound like an asshole, I love doing – and am pretty good at – quite a lot of things: directing plays, arts administration, working with kids, making awesome anchor charts, teaching drama, managing social media, writing, speaking French, foreign cultures and travel, politics etc. Over the years I’ve dabbled in so many different things, without giving myself enough time or investment to really commit to any of them in a deliberate way. The …

Académie d’Aix-Marseille: Anne in Marseille

Originally posted on Alexandra Woodfin:
This guest post is brought to you by Anne over at Present Perfect, who was previously an assistante in the Académie de Grenoble and has compared her experience in both. When I first applied to TAPIF, I put off ranking my académie preferences for so long that I’m pretty sure I ended up choosing more or less at random… Thankfully, I lucked into the stunning Académie de Grenoble and the amazing city of Chambéry. HOLD THE PHONE! you’re thinking. I came to page looking for info on the Académie d’Aix-Marseille! T’inquiète mon ami –  I’ve already written volumes on how much I love Chambéry, which I definitely invite you to read. But I’m here today to tell you some more about my current home: Marseille. For my second go-around in TAPIF, I was looking for a different, new experience. I had visited Marseille during one of my vacations and felt somehow drawn to this city of a million contradictions despite the short stay. I had a feeling there was a…

I’m basically famous now

Several months ago, I published this post about everything I love about my adopted French hometown of Chambéry, following a National Geographic Intelligent Travel questionnaire. After revamping my answers a few months ago and sending it in to be considered for the site, I got word yesterday that Intelligent Travel decided to publish my post as part of their weekly “I Heart My City” feature!! They made a few edits to make it more consistent with their questions, and they added a bunch of flickr photos, some of which I don’t even recognize where they were taken….but hey! It’s still pretty cool. I hope that this highlight will encourage people to consider visiting this little corner of the world 🙂 And I hope some of you will also be encouraged to publish similar pieces on your own blogs, and to share them with National Geographic. Then maybe you, too, will feel as famous as I do today !! ❂

Primary Assistant FAQ

In my time obsessively stalking all TAPIF blogs past, current and future, I’ve noticed the prevalence of secondary assistants across the interweb. It makes sense: there are way more of them! There are commonalities between the expectations and experiences of primary and secondary assistants, but seeing as most of the info out there seems to be geared towards the secondary level, I want to share some ideas that will be specifically helpful to current and future primary assistants, as they can be very different jobs.