I had been toying a long time with the idea of writing something about my experience working as a language assistant. The format was not really clear, though. A blog? A guide? A small ebook? A first person narrative?
The more I thought about it, the stronger I felt that my aim should be to keep it professional, in order to help the countless students, volunteers or more experienced educators who would like to join the ranks of «Foreign Language Assistant» succeed in their assistantship and make the most of their year abroad . The position is usually a one-year-only opportunity and often represents the first steps of a prospective teacher in a real-life classroom; what’s more: in a foreign country with a different set of educational practices and values. I wanted to enlightened the readers about what to expect and give them tips about how best to cope with the challenges of starting a new career in a foreign country. Being an assistant is not a year of being a tourist, but the first step to Continuous Professional Development.
Yesterday evening, I finally put pen to paper and scribbled down in an orderly manner the storm of ideas that were rolling around in my head. The outline of the book is ready and it seems that I would manage to write around 70 or 100 pages on the topic, the goal being to cover everything that can come up before, during and after your assistantship, providing practical professionally orientated information, personal advice as well as support with the aspects that are too often left untouched by training or briefing sessions, such as the psychological effects of culture-shock / reverse culture-shock and second language immersion.
Are you with me in that? It is only a beginning, but I think it’s a first step in the creation of a very useful guide. But now, back to my on-going translation!