Eat, Teach, Sleep, Repeat: 8 Activities for Time-Strapped Language Assistants

This time last year, I’d just started my job as a lectrice in Lyon. I had a mere seven months’ teaching experience under my belt (courtesy of my year abroad as a language assistant in Colmar) and zero TEFL, TESOL or CELTA qualifications to my name. Over the course of those two stints abroad teaching English, I filled my hard drive with resources, activities and PowerPoints; I still have hard copies of all my lesson plans and annotated printouts, as I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away. Since coming up with exciting activities can seem like a round-the-clock job, I’ve compiled a few of my tried-and-tested favourites. Many of these can be adapted for use with students of different levels; I taught students with a very basic command of the language, and also students who were extremely proficient. As long as you take your students’ abilities into account when planning and carrying out the activity in question, there shouldn’t be any major hiccups.

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Lemon Drizzle Cake | Gâteau au Citron

[veuillez défiler vers le bas pour la version française] Lemon drizzle cake is a classic teatime treat, and one that can hold its own against Victoria sponges and Battenbergs at afternoon teas up and down the country. It’s tangy and tasty, and the icing on the cake – quite literally – is the crunchy lemon drizzle topping. I hadn’t made one for a while, but as it’s a firm favourite of Laurence’s, I decided to bake one a couple of weeks ago for us to enjoy over the weekend. Starbucks’ Lemon Loaf has been shown the door; I’m pretty sure he’s been converted to the (arguably much tastier) homemade equivalent. Whether you’re having friends round for coffee or need a no-faff bake for the office bake-off, this cake’s got your back. (On a side note, who else feels that GBBO just isn’t the same without Mel and Sue?)

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Life as a Lectrice: the Good, the Bad and the In-between

My stint as a lectrice was one of the most challenging experiences I’ve ever had. I jumped through endless (mostly bureaucracy-related) hoops, navigated the complexities of teaching at a university in a foreign country and almost worked myself into the ground in the process. Despite – or perhaps in spite of – all the obstacles, setbacks and challenges that were thrown my way, it also turned out to be one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. It taught me a lot about my capabilities and aspirations, my fortes and flaws. Had it been plain sailing, I’m certain I wouldn’t have learnt half as much as I did.

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Randonnée Gourmande

Shortly after my hike in the Chartreuse, Olivier suggested a ‘randonnée cerises’ in the nearby Monts du Lyonnais. It’s fairly self-explanatory what this hike entailed, but I fancied sharing a few photos from it as I had a jolly good time. (Let’s face it, a hike that combines rolling hills and end-of-season fruit is pretty much the dream for me.)

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Chambéry and the Chartreuse

Before I left Lyon, I was intent on returning to the Parc Naturel Régional de Chartreuse. Put simply, my visit to the southern edge of the park back in February had whetted my appetite for more and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see another tiny corner of this majestic mountain range. I also had my eye on a little trip over to Chambéry, and it just so happens that this quaint little town provides easy access to the natural park. (A win-win scenario, if you ask me.) The map was purchased, the packed lunch packed (no items left in the fridge this time!) and the alarm set. On y va!

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Lyon’s Secret Garden

Lyon is like an onion: peel back the outer skin of iconic landmarks such as Fourvière, Place des Terreaux and Cathédrale St. John, and you’ll discover there’s far more to the city than you first thought. Take the time to explore the quirks of its diverse neighbourhoods, glimpse some of the city’s famous fresques and zigzag across the city using its network of traboules, and you’ll be richly rewarded. If it takes your fancy, you can even play at being Mary from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s timeless classic, The Secret Garden. It’s one of the city’s best-kept secrets, and is rarely mentioned in guidebooks – at least, it wasn’t in either of mine!

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Pépites Parisiennes (IV)

As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun – and I’ve certainly had fun compiling this little series about my recent trip to Paris. While it may not be the end of the road for this series, as I’m rather fond of the title, it has now reached a red traffic light, so to speak. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting (and revisiting, as was the case for a few) some of the crowd-pleasers, but felt most at home wandering the city’s fringes, which were both peaceful and picturesque. On our last day, after an essential detour to a pâtisserie or two, we headed out to the nineteenth arrondissement and gradually worked our way back to the tenth, conveniently finishing just a short walk away from Gare du Nord, where Laurence would catch the Eurostar back to London. Until next time, Paris. / Comme dit le proverbe, le temps passe vite quand on s’amuse – et je me suis bien amusée en écrivant cette petite série sur mon voyage récent à Paris. Tandis que cela ne sera pas nécessairement la fin du voyage pour cette série, car j’aime bien le titre, elle se trouve devant un feu rouge pour l’instant, pour ainsi dire. J’ai adoré mes visites (ou bien mes deuxième visites, selon le cas) des grands monuments, mais je me suis sentie plus à l’aise en flânant dans les quartiers plus loin du centre, qui étaient à la fois tranquille et pittoresque. Le dernier jour, après avoir fait un petit détour à une ou deux pâtisseries, nous sommes allés au dix-neuvième arrondissement et petit à petit nous nous sommes dirigés vers le dixième, finissant près de la Gare du Nord, d’où Laurence prendrait le Eurostar. À la prochaine, Paris.

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