Well, here we are, almost in March, but with an extra day for posting in February, so I thought I’d better make the most of it. Only just back from a trip over the channel to celebrate a friend’s 40th, here are some thoughts on what’s happened to make this month fly by:

 

  1.  I started teaching English in an ‘école d’ingenieurs’ (university level but a private college specialising in IT/digital engineering), where I have 3 classes each week. This doesn’t sound very much, but it amounts to 4.5 hours of teaching material to prepare, and since I was given completely free rein to do anything I like in my lessons (and no guidance whatsoever as to what to include), it has resulted in many hours spent vainly searching the web for videos/articles at the right level. When I took the groups on, I thought they would all be a similar level, and I would only need to write one lesson a week and teach it 3 times. Dream on! I have ended up with one group which is basically fluent and doesn’t really need to be there as they’ve already reached the required level on the TOEIC exam for their degree (780), one group who are very basic and currently averaging about 400 on the TOEIC, and a group who are so mixed that their scores range from 400-800. So yes, you guessed it, every group needs entirely different lesson material…
  2.  The first week was also spent working for a market research company as a ‘report writer’. This involved attending a series of focus groups with French people giving their views on an ad campaign designed by a British company, taking notes, and then frantically extracting lots of juicy quotes with which to pepper the report. (I say report, but it needed to be in Powerpoint format with mainly bullet points, so to call it report writing was a slight stretch of the imagination…) I only had two and a half days after listening to the groups to write it up, in between my first week’s English teaching, so an all-nighter was required to reach the deadline.
  3.  I’ve been on the ProQuartet website again (organisers of ‘La Nuit du Quatuor’) and finally got round to putting up an ad looking for chamber music partners. I got some interesting responses: a retired pianist who has lots of experience but who doesn’t want to rehearse in his flat as it’s too small, a bandoneon player (yes, you did read that correctly) looking for a group to play Argentinian tango with, and a cellist who suggested doing violin/cello duos. So far I’ve accepted the third offer, and now have to get cracking on some serious practice in order to attempt the Halvorsen/Handel passacaglia that he’s found for us to play!