Bonjour! My name is Kira, and I graduated from Transylvania University in 2020 with majors in French and Anthropology and a minor in International Affairs… I’m the other half of (what is this year) the Deauville duo. Wow, I can’t believe we’ve been here for over a month already! The wait was indeed long, but Kelly and I are both so happy to finally be here.
My first month here began with two weeks of vacation, which allowed ample time to get my bearings, settle in, and explore. During our vacation, I was able to visit Caen, Rouen, Honfleur, Étretat, and Paris, as well as enjoy beautiful Deauville. What began as a picnic on the beach one afternoon with Kelly and our new friend Ella has turned into a weekly ritual of walks along the beach. We live a mere five minutes away, which as someone who has always resided in landlocked states, is still somewhat of a novelty! Watching the sunset on the beach will never get old, I don’t think. :)
I already feel very at home here, greatly in part due to the warm welcome we have received. Philippe and his family kindly invited us over to their home for a lovely family dinner, and we also had the pleasure of attending Deauville’s annual Dîner des Associations. It was a joyful evening of food, drink, dance, and celebrating being together, which was touching to see particularly after the isolation and uncertainty we all experienced during the pandemic.
Our colleagues at the school have been kind and helpful, especially Ivan who has taken great care in helping us adjust and explaining all that we need to know, from the ins and outs of lesson planning to how to sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” (“L’Araignée gypsy”) in French! With three weeks of classes now behind us, Kelly and I are settling into our routines. Kelly teaches the older elementary school students here in Deauville, as well as driving each week to the neighboring St-Arnoult and Tourgéville to teach English classes there, while I teach the younger elementary school students, as well as the little ones at the maternelle and the nursery here.
It’s been such a joy and an enriching challenge for me (as someone whose academic training is not in education) to teach such a wide age range on a daily basis, and I’m very grateful for Kelly and Ivan’s guidance, insight, and support. The kids are so sweet, and it makes me happy when they see me and run up with hugs to ask if I’ll be coming for English classes… If I say, “No, not today,” their response is (adorably) one of disappointment and immediately asking when our next English class will be. It’s incredible to see that, because of past TAs, the wonderful teachers here, and all the tireless work Ivan has done, the kids here already have such a positive association with language-learning at such a young age. As someone who deeply appreciates languages and the human connection language-learning fosters, it’s a gift to be able to be a part of something like that here. .
As Kelly mentioned in her last post, Halloween here was quite special! After such a memorable celebration, I was excited to come up with ways to teach Thanksgiving. Some students here had never heard of Thanksgiving, and we discussed that it is a holiday to give thanks and spend with family. I showed them pictures of my family celebrating Thanksgiving together last year and used food vocabulary, such as pumpkin pie and turkey, to teach about Thanksgiving traditions and to practice saying “I like” / “I don’t like.” One of the amazing teachers here even baked a pumpkin pie to celebrate with his students! Kelly and I had a nice, little celebration here at the house. I am grateful to know Kelly and consider myself very lucky to have her as my housemate and fellow teaching assistant.
The Christmas season is now upon us, Deauville is decorated, and our vocabulary has shifted to words like “present” and “reindeer.” In the next two weeks before les vacances de Noël, we will be writing letters to Santa to practice “I would like,” writing Christmas cards to family, reading Christmas stories, and listening to Christmas carols. I’m looking forward to sharing the joys of the season with my new friends and colleagues and seeing what the New Year brings. Joyeuses Fêtes à toutes et à tous et à bientôt…