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Thursday, January 18, 2024

Katherine in Deauville- Winter 2024

Bonjour! My name is Katherine and I am one of the 4 English Language Assistants that have the honor to work in Deauville for the year. I arrived about two weeks before the “Touissant” (All Saints Day) vacation which was my observation period. I appreciated having this period since not only is this a new school to be working in but there’s a new culture for me to learn! While I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent time in France through previous Sister Cities programs, I have never worked in a primary school in France before which has culture differences of its own. One of the differences here at school is as simple as lining up. When I was little, I loved the book Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. In the book, the girls line up “in two straight lines.” Well just like in the books, the kids here line up two by two or “deux par deux” instead of single file. I have seen the little ones holding hands with their line buddy on the regular which is super cute to see. Another difference comes from the food culture being important in France. While I still on occasion hear kids complaining about the food at the cafeteria, I’m not convinced it can compare to what I grew up with. First they are served an "entrée" which is typically a vegetable of some sort. Second they get the "plat" which so far has been a meat and a grain. Third is the cheese course. Then last is the dessert course which may be a piece of cake or a piece of fruit. They aren’t given the food all at once. Each course after the entrée, the lunch ladies will come around and serve each student the food. Students have the option to go home for lunch or eat at school. No one brings their lunches to school here - if they are eating at school, they eat the cafeteria lunch. Of course students with dietary restrictions are accommodated for.


During the Touissant vacation I spent time settling into Deauville and was fortunate enough to get to spend time with friends and my french family. I participated in the Sister Cities exchange program in 2015 and have been so fortunate having friends from then as well as with my french family that I was paired with- they truly feel like family at this point.


After the Touissant vacation I started teaching and we launched into incorporating Thanksgiving and Christmas into our curriculum. There were lots of hand turkeys, and saying what we are grateful for. In the after school program (APE), the English teachers lead “English Club” that the students can elect to take. During English Club, I got to talk about traditional Thanksgiving foods with the students and show pictures of my family celebrating Thanksgiving in Kentucky. Once Thanksgiving ended, we were full steam ahead for Christmas. Part of this was due to a big city event which was the lighting of the Christmas lights! Every year the students in Deauville perform a few songs and then the mayor will choose one of them to press the button that turns on all the Christmas lights of Deauville. This year they had one song in French and three in English. It was super cool to see them get to perform the English songs that they had been working hard on in front of the mayor and the town. They did a great job!

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