There and Back Again: Part IV


After three months in the South, I went up to Paris to get my CELTA certification from the British Council. It was also fascinating, (if you'll forgive my overuse of the word, but what a wonderful problem, to have a life over-full of fascinating things?) Many who know me also know that languages are a huge passion of mine. Which is to say language acquisition, how people consciously and unconsciously use language, textual analysis, etc. I see it as the same reason I'm passionate about acting, writing, and other kinds of storytelling.

I'd had a little experience teaching English to children and discovered I loved it. Apart from the planning aspect of the lessons, it came easily and naturally to me. And the realization that being a native English speaker, who also deeply understands how my language works, is a gift I never even had to work for, something infinitely marketable, something I could bring with me and sell anywhere, was a real epiphany. 

The course was incredible - marvelous, kind, intelligent classmates, fantastic tutors, adorable adult students of varying skill levels. Highly recommended to anyone who wants to earn money to travel. We mostly covered the ins and outs of pedagogy - the Cambridge University method, which is very Student-oriented. Very intense: 8 - 9 hours of class time, Monday - Friday, with 2 - 4 hours of homework each night, teaching and observing on alternate days. Again, fascinating.

One of the unfortunate byproducts of the stress at my lodgings, which I'll tell you about in a moment, and the stress of the course was, of course, that I really didn't see my Parisian friends, something I regret in one sense, but something I can't see happening any other way in retrospect.

Meanwhile I was renting a room from an elderly German woman, who at first seemed like a role model. Strong, independent, beautiful, elegant, educated. But whose dark past, and bizarre and erratic behavior became more and more toxic as time went on. I tried to keep my head down and focus on my studies. It's only a matter of days now, I would tell myself, once you finish the course, you can get the hell out of there. Ultimately, she unceremoniously evicted me, three days before the end of my course, at 1 AM, drowning in work I needed to complete for my portfolio, the night before I was set to teach my last lesson, claiming I had threatened her because of her broken washing machine, and telling me that I had never told her I was studying for my teaching certification - the reason I was in Paris. In our final conversation, her version of events was so far removed from reality, that it was borderline - and I do not use this word lightly - delusional. She had the gall to tell me, as I stood at the front door with my things, "good luck with your studies." 

I found a cheap hotel near Madeleine, where I taught my last class - which was assessed to be my best yet - finished my work, finished my course, got my certification, and blocked the German Woman's phone number and email address. 

As awful as that particular experience was, and as trite as it may sound, I discovered how very efficiently I was able to make my escape and make alternate plans. I also have some pretty sweet inspiration for a villainess... ;)

Until next time,



This blog is Part 4 of 9 about my year in France. Check out the other chapters here!