'Bonjour César,' the life of a French language assistant at a Tipperary school

César Salmon, a French language assistant at Clonmel High School

César Salmon


César Salmon


File photo

Thursday 12th March, 2pm, it’s a beautiful sunny day (yet cold!) in Clonmel and I am crossing the front yard of the C.B.S. High School, not knowing when I will be back.
During the five minute walk to the house where I have been living for the last six months, I know that I am bound to meet some students on the way. Being a French assistant at the school I do not have the same status as a teacher and therefore the relationships with the students are more informal and friendly (the age difference also plays a role here, I am only 21). It is indeed not long before a group of sixth years is waving at me while shouting a “Bonjour César” (they call me by my first name). I can clearly see that their behaviour is a bit different than usual. “The school is going to close on Friday” one of them says. “I know guys, I think that I am going to go back to France,” I respond. The lads seem quite surprised at this answer and look quite bothered. It’s going to be hard for me to leave everything behind. My experience in Ireland was a tremendous one. Not knowing what to expect I must say that I was not necessarily sure at first (it was my first time leaving home as well!) on the day of September 24th, sitting in this plane and heading to Dublin Airport. However I was quickly at ease, Irish people are really good at that, and I found out right away that coming here was indeed a great decision! I cannot express how much living here for these mere six months in Ireland has changed me. As I said earlier, it was my first time leaving home and to discover that I could live on my own and in another country was really rewarding. I also became quickly at ease with my new job as a French Assistant. Fellow teachers, students and other staff members in the High School were immediately welcoming and (after some days of struggling with their Irish accents!) I was soon able to take part in conversations and to quickly feel integrated.
I would like to deeply thank the students and teachers as well as management who all were willing to welcome a French man in their school and showed such care in making him feel at home ! Some of them I now consider as good friends and I miss them a lot since I left ! This was a great work experience for me and helped me tremendously when it comes to speaking in English but it was even more so a great human experience and one that I was very glad to be part of. It was a real joy for me to teach the High School students, so many of them showing a great interest in learning whilst also maintaining great respect and a positive attitude. I really had a lot of fun teaching them some French! I have no doubt that all of them, despite the circumstances, will carry out great studies. Not being sure upon my arrival in Ireland, I can now say that teaching is what I would like to dedicate my life to, and this is in part thanks to you High School guys ! On that fateful day in March I just had time to pack my bag in ten minutes to catch the bus and then get a plane to France. It felt weird to leave all behind in the space of one day. I do not know when I will be back to Ireland but I would like to thank you all for making this journey a very pleasant one and to help create memories I will never forget. The last words are aimed at my students, to see if they have been revising!
J’espère être de retour en Irlande très bientôt. C’était un plaisir de vous enseigner, continuer à bien travailler et à parler français !
Prenez soin de vous !
À bientôt !
César- your French Language Assistant
Living the Irish life!!