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Posts Tagged ‘confidence’

One thing I have learnt this week (apart from that it most definitely is possible to eat 10 carrés of Monoprix white chocolate in less than 20 minutes) is that faking it might just be the way forward. Minds out of the gutter please, not that kind of faking it!

In language learning my strengths lie within the ‘receiving information’ side of the language; reading and listening. My writing isn’t even especially bad it is just speaking which is my major downfall. I’ve commented before in this blog how the reason is that I don’t feel confident enough and that I must get confident blah blah etc etc. However this week I have noticed some things that just make everything about my linguistic weaknesses disappear. I don’t have to HAVE confidence… I can fake it!

I’ve been doing a lot of listening and observing this week, mainly of non-native French speakers (just like me) trying to speak the language, and to just listen I could be fooled that they are much more amazing than me at the language, but if I REALLY listen I realise that’s not necessarily the case. Miss-conjugations, difficulties finding verbs, talking around the subject when nouns are forgotten and tense problems… that’s what I do!

The thing that separates me from these people (in my mind of course) is that I don’t fake the linguistic capability to mask my uncertainty – I uhm and ah until I find the exact way I want to say it or I rush in like a TGV and blabber everything and anything making it all muddled.

I think that if I really think about it and I take into consideration the things that these people do, adding simple phrases “bon alors” when I lose my TGV of thought, I could convince myself that I am in fact as great at French as I perceive the other foreign francophones!

Also, tonight, whilst l was sat in bed trying to get my sleep on (slight Cassidy reference there), I was thinking through some verbs and conjugations (I’m a language student, we’re allowed to do things like this for fun) and I came to the verb savoir (to know) and I started to think it through, I changed the regular first and second person singular forms of the verb from having an ‘is’ ending (sais) to an ‘it’ ending (sait) and felt uneasy I couldn’t even imagine trying to say “je sait” – just typing it makes me feel like I know nothing.

I know that’s a little trivial thing that may only interest my mind but along with the fact I catch myself thinking and mumbling to myself in French without even realising it I feel perhaps this is all a sign that I’m finally getting to grips with the language and that perhaps if I take heed of all that I have written above I’ll soon start to feel like I’m mastering the great French language!

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It’s been a while.

I had another meltdown. Yes, another, they’re unpredictable, unforeseen and unbelievably horrible. Feeling rubbish is one thing, but feeling rubbish in an unfamiliar surrounding is worse. Okay it could be argued that Carcassonne is no longer unfamiliar, I no longer need my maps to get around, I know the cool places to go and I am now, I’m sure you’re all pleased to know, fully aware of how the roads work. So why the meltdown? The answer is, I’ve no freaking clue.  Overwhelmed? Daunted? Stressed? Or just simply tired? Maybe all of the above. I find it hard to talk to people and tell them my true feelings, always have. However, in the early hours of the other morning, I managed to muster up the courage to send my mum a text telling her I was sad and unsure why. She rang me first thing the next day to help and together we figured out what was potentially bothering me. There’s a lot to do here, I’m not just an assistant who has only assistantly duties to attend to. I have university work and erasmus grant forms to try to do – on top of lesson plans and trying to keep my own little room clean, tidy and organised. My mum calmed me, organised me and sent me on my way – of course still feeling rubbish, it doesn’t just go away like that.

So now I’m still organised, feeling a tad happier and determined. Today was a journée d’entraînment (training day) so I had no school. Instead me, the other 4 Carcassonne primary assistants and the primary assistants from Narbonne sifted through teaching resources at the Inspection Academique and searched the web for useful lesson plans. Whilst I feel the day was useful I am still very much daunted by the teaching, maybe it will get better and give me more confidence? Or maybe it will remain the bane of my life for the next 6 and a half months? I guess we’ll see.

Ce soir we went to the cinema encore. This time the film (36 vues de pic Saint-Loup), whilst having a more bizarre storyline, was easier to understand. Okay the gist of the story was lost in some places but the French was much easier to understand and I felt a greater sense of achievement.

I also feel that, whilst I’m not necessarily showing it through the medium of my oral capacity, I’m getting better at French. I can form sentences perfectly in my head, it’s just the pressure of needing to answer quickly and also fear of being judged that makes my words come out not as they are in my head. Before the words come out of my mouth I can see them in my head, I can see the correct verb endings, the correct tenses, the correct words and idioms… but as soon as my mouth is open in even the slightest pressurised environment, it comes out a great big jumble of wrong. I think I need to work on that.

One last thing before I go and essayer de dormir; someone has been smoking in my little corridor thing. I noticed the smoke smell in other places in this building but never anywhere near my room.. now all I can smell in my room is smoke. If I can still smell it tomorrow I’m telling the landlady. I know I sound like a tattle but I’m finding it hard enough to live in France already without having second hand smoke pumped through my lungs unwillingly.

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