A day in the life of Aurelie Orfila

30th January 2015 at 00:00
The recent terrorist attacks left Paris reeling. But this nursery teacher finds joy and laughter in her work, thanks to friendly colleagues, imaginative pupils - and a talking mouse

I live in the 11th arrondissement of Paris with my parents, not far from where the recent attacks took place. I'm a teacher at Eacute;cole maternelle Val de Beaut in Nogent-sur-Marne, a small but wealthy eastern suburb. I'm lucky because lots of people want to work in this area.

It's my first year in teaching. The children I teach are four years old and there are 24 in my class. We learn from each other every day: me about them and my job; the children about themselves and their life. I like my job; the days are different and the children offer me kindness, joy and laughter.

My day starts at 7am with the alarm. I leave home just after 7.30am and travel by car over Boulevard Priphrique, one of the busiest roads in Europe, managing to avoid the crazy traffic. By driving to work I avoid the typical Parisian routine of "mtro, boulot, dodo" - "metro, work, sleep".

I'm in my classroom at about 8am to prepare myself for the day ahead. At this age children need stability, so I try to have everything in place ready to welcome them - although it quickly becomes messy.

Classes start at 8.45am. On the advice of my colleague, I prepare four activities for the morning and another four for the afternoon. When I first started, I made the mistake of organising only four activities for the day but it was difficult to manage. Now I divide the class into four groups of six and rotate the activities. This morning, one group practises writing the number 2, another makes a piece of artwork, the third searches for a way to find four "Kaplas" (small wooden blocks) in a plastic bag and the fourth solves a puzzle.

Lunchtime is between 11.30am and 1.30pm. While we eat, my colleagues and I talk about our students, but also about our schedules and our lives. Then I head back to my classroom to prepare for the afternoon. We start with an educational game, then the children end their day with free play between 3.30pm and 3.45pm, when their parents arrive to collect them. It's a special time for me because I can observe the children's behaviour and the friendships they form.

After the students leave, it's time to look over the day's work. I try to see where things can be improved and I create new activities for children who are struggling. I spend time looking at their difficulties so I can target my help.

This year, many teachers are angry with the French government because of reforms to school timetables. Teachers are tired, the children are tired, I'm tired, but I still enjoy my job very much. I like to be with children.

Every day there are beautiful moments - let me give you an example. Souricette is a toy mouse and she is also the class mascot. The children's first meeting with her was extraordinary because they were so amazed that she could speak. All their little faces turned to stare at the mouse with wide eyes. I liked this moment: I saw wonder in them. During the holidays they made up stories about how the mouse went to the North Pole for Christmas and saw strange men with green hats. They often make me laugh with their imaginations.

This is why I want to continue teaching. I have many years in front of me and, in spite of difficulties, I try to be better every day.

Your day

Do you want to tell the world's teachers about your working day, the unique circumstances in which you teach or the brilliance of your class? If so, email chloe.darracott-cankovic@tesglobal.com

We will give your school pound;100 if your story is published.


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