This school year (année scolaire) is proving somewhat challenging for me so far.

On the one hand I have made things difficult for myself by accepting my first ever English-teaching role at a private adult education college in Central Strasbourg.  With a class of thirty or so overgrown adolescents … sorry, I mean young professionals … I am beginning to think that I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

It would of perhaps been wiser to start my teaching career with a group of students who actually want to learn English rather than those who have to.  However a ‘langue vivante’ (modern language) is a compulsory element of the BTS business course which my students are taking.

The BTS* is equivalent to a British HND. It is a 2 year higher diploma with a vocational focus; in this instance – business. English is the international language of business, so naturally some of my students are keen to learn it. Though some clearly are not, particularly those who see their future careers as being devoid of any international element. Motivation then is a big issue. Not least of which – mine.

Elsewhere, at home, my eldest son returns each night from school with a head full of numbers, frenchisms and a bag full of homework and, having been delegated as the household expert in French, I have to help him do it. Not easy when you don’t know the word for wheelbarrow, dragonfly, screw …

learning to read German the hard way - as a bedtime storyThen to cap it all, last night our youngest decided that he’d like me to read him a bedtime story as usual but this time … in German.

I clearly still have a lot to learn.

*Brevet de Technicien Supérieur. Langue Vivante 1 for BTS business is normally marked out of three, evenly divided between oral and written examinations.  The written exam usually contains a comprehension element that has to be summarised or translated into French (tut – too easy!) and the oral exam does not always include a listening element (did I say easy – I meant piece of piss! ). Learning eh?