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About my work…

flshI am a university lecturer in English, teaching at the University of Haute Alsace in Mulhouse, where I teach translation, interpreting and literature. I also participate in the teacher training programme called the Master MEEF which would delight my father (a former engineer) whose adage was “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach; and those who can’t teach, teach teachers”.  It seems I have reached the heights…or the depths, whichever way you look at it! I teach at all levels from L1 to M2, translation, literature and interpretation depending on the needs of the department. I have been Head of the English Department, ‘Assesseure à la Pédagogie’ (a kind of Study Director) and have sat for several years on the University Senate.

Like many young people, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do career-wise. My two sisters were  teachers at that time, and I dreamed of doing something more original…but was encouraged to try teaching English by my colleagues who said that I was made for that particular career. Anne Siegmann gave me my first job in the ‘Université Populaire’ where I worked for 6 years teaching adults: the most gratifying professional experience I have ever had, and this has coloured my teaching experience ever since.

I also taught in kindergarten and in primary school in Strasbourg and in the ‘collèges’ of the Sundgau, where I learnt how to teach youngsters the concourshard way, with no real coaching or theoretical help to fall back on. At 26 I went back to the Faculté des Lettres in Strasbourg to pass the sacrosanct ‘concours’ and after a year’s practical experience at the Lycéee Lambert, I obtained a post at the Ecole de Chimie in Mulhouse…a complete mystery to one whose chemistry lessons at school had been conducted by a frustrated musician who played more Brahms on his viola than he ever taught us chemistry….however, I got a taste for teaching young adults and stayed there for 9 years, after which I scaled the wall of the FLSH where I had been teaching for a few years as a ‘vacataire’. That was in 1999…..and I am still here….and happy to be so. I have been Head of Department and Director of Studies (Assesseur à a Pédagogie) in former years, and both experiences were challenging and rewarding in equal measure.

internat relnsThrough all this, I realised that even if you have a definite idea of what you want to do in life, sometimes you are offered opportunities which you do not expect, and these are sometimes more interesting than they seem at first glance.  A former Headmaster of the Lycée Lambert where I was teaching, once told me that to get to the land of happiness you have to catch the bus, and it doesn’t pass by every ten minutes…I got the message and seized the opportunity to work in Higher Education. Also that you are often employed to do what you have never done before, hence the Chemistry School, but I there I also worked in International Relations which was a very satisfying experience. And far from being complacent about one’s job, it can be a means to take on new responsibilities and explore new fields. You only get out of it what you put in, sometimes more but never less.

And now I teach on the Illberg Campus as well as at the ‘Fonderie where I participate in the MICAI Master’s programme, training young fonderie2postgraduates for the ruthless world of business. Martine Fade and I teach interpretation in French and English which helps the students hone their skills in language and master the schizophrenic methods of using two languages at once!

george burnsThanks , George…who shares his surname (Burns) with Tony’s Scottish ancestors…who lived to a prodigious age and had a dry wit which I appreciate; a kind of American Winston Churchill. Look him up or Wiki or You Tube…. you might even enjoy it!