scroll down to mentioned posts for full recipes...

Gooey Lemon Lime Salted Butter Slice ( Toys - manual or machine post)

Asparagus Appero Velouté ( A Thousand and One Things to do with Aparagus)

Oeuf Mollet ( A Thousand and One Things to do with Aparagus)

Fresh Asparagus ( A Thousand and One Things to do with Aparagus)

Strawberry Fool (Temperatures Rising post)

Death and Co (Desperate Target post)

Susie's Tian ( Summer Bliss post)

Spiced Up Chocolate Mousse ( Mummy Porn? post)

Bay Leaf and Lemon Roasted Coquelet ( Pizza Face post)

Cottage Cheese Salad ( Ouch! post)

Sunday Chilli ( Co Co CO Communication post)

Resolution Chicken Soup ( Sunshine and Joy post)

6 Minute Succulent Foie Gras ( Foie Gras Shortcut post)

Carrot & Coconut Spiced Soup ( Charm and Charme post)

Amaretto Chocolate Cake ( Autumn Dash post)

Sunday Supper Fettucini ( Haircut Hell post)

Susie's Fennel Seed and Lime Chicken (The Gracious Art of Meditation post)

Nigella's Coconut Rice ( The Gracious Art of Meditation post)

Cherry Tomato Curry ( The Gracious Art of Meditation post)

Old Fashioned ( Navigation Nightmares post)

End of Summer Apple Tart (Keeping Up post)

Warm Ravioli du Dauphiné Salad ( Cold Summer, Warm Salad post )

Pecorino, Tuna, Fresh Basil and Summer Tomato Salad (Salad Days post)

Easiest Dreamiest Dark Chocolate Ice cream ( Beware Pigeon post)

Ginger Kisses ( Mmmwah Mmmwah Dahling! post)

A "Lucky Stiff" Cocktail ( Are we all chambermaids ? post)

Blueberry, Banana, Carrot Smoothie ( Get Thin, Get Thin, Get Thin post)

Chilled Cucumber and Coriander Soup ( Husbands who do Housework post)

Pear, Almond, Dark Chocolate Spiced Coffee Cake ( Go Dutch! post)

Orgasmic Dark Chocolate and Lime Zest Gateau (Loss is Plus post)

Warm Parsnip Salad (Season's Parsnip post)

Champagne and Raspberry Gratin(Champagne! post)

Laksa ( Getting On post)

Cheat's Christmas Cake ( Last Minute Madness post)

Pecan Pie ( The Joy of "Thanks" post )

Flourless Dark Chocolate Almond Brownies ( Antumn Brownie post)

Christmas Chocolate Truffle Fudge Cake ( Christmas... Already ? post )

Foie Gras Sauternes Terrine ( Oh, To be a Duck post )

Fig Pear Apple Spiced Almond Crumble ( Linguistic LOL post )

Pepper, Fresh Tomato,Garlic, Serrano, Pasta Shells ( God Give us Parity post)

Lemon Ginger Hot Toddy for Colds ( Husbands with Colds post)

Autumn Tomato Soup ( Big Noise post)

Chocolate Mountain Crisp Cookies ( working, WORKING, Mothering, Exploding post)

Inspired Chicken Liver Paté ( Everything's Gone Retro post)

Spiced Apple Yoghurt Cake, Lemon Butter Icing ( Body Balance post )

Raspberry, White Peach and Limoncello Cups ( Disdain and More Summer Pudding #3 post )

Very Berry Summer Pudding ( Very Berry, Summer Puddings #2 post )

Minted Peach Soup ( Back to School, Summer Puddings #1 post )

Full Fibre Toasted Muesli ( World Cup Fever? post)

Energy Spring Salad ( Energy Spring Salad post)

Chicken Breast Tossed in Basilled Gremolato (Gremolato GOGO post)

Osso Bucco ( Monday Osso Bucco post)

Moistest Almond Expresso Cake with Coffee Butter Icing ( The Cake Which Gets you What you Want...Anything! post)

Red Pepper Tomato Tuna Pasta Bake (Pasta Bake for really Frustrated Mothers post )

Spring Strawberry & Blueberry Spiced Crumble (Dessert for a Spring Evening post )

Quinoa Asparagus Feta Salad (Annual Cringe post)

Lavender Dream Ice Cream ( Lavender Dream post)

Nasturtium, Cream Cheese & Ham Sandwiches ( Flower Power post)

Best Potato Salad Ever ( First Spring BBQ post)

Basil, Chive, Goat Cheese Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms ( Portobello Fresh post)

Balsamic Berry Salad ( Berry Power post)

Moist Raspberry and Lemon Zest Dessert Cake ( pre Wedding Supper post )

Mackerel Crumble (Omega Me post)

NYC Pecan and Choc Chip Cookies (MyAmericanMarket.com post)

Stawberry and Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil and Mint ( Salad Days post)

Spring Detox Smoothie ( Incredible Blimp post )

Baked Cinnamon and Orange Zest Cheesecake( On Cheesecake post)

Blood Orange Braised Endives (Beautiful Blood Oranges post )

Egg Free Choc Mousse ( Orgasmic Choc Mousse post)

Timeless Onion Soup ( Mid-Term Suppers post)

Caper, Red Onion & Bacon Tart ( Late Lunch Tart post )

Dale's Poisson Cru ( Don't Tell Them its Raw post )

Duck Sausage Curry ( Mid Week Bangers post )

Easy Crepes with various toppings (Its "Crepe Day" in France post)

Red Onion Tart (Winter Suppers Again - Classic Red Onion Tart post )

Classic NYC Bloody Mary ( Hangover Brunch Cure post)

Pesto Salmon (more Winter Suppers, Pesto Salmon post)

Soothing Lemon Soufflé ( Winter Suppers - Back to easy desserts post )

Mash and Variations (Winter Suppers 3 - The Glory of Mashed Potato post)

Braised Vegetable Hot Pot with Espelette Chicken ( see Winter Suppers 2 post)

French Apple Tart, Unadulterated ( Supper for Winter Term 1 post)

Spicey Chorizo Tomato Spaghetti ( Supper for Winter Term 1 post)

Veal/Veau Orloff, Julia Child (Just what is Veau Orloff post)

Christmas Detox Hints ( Over Christmas post)

Espuma Roquefort, Celery, Panacetta (We Workshopped post) Mille Feuilles Sud Ouest (We Workshopped post)

Gourmet Classic Egg Nog (Christmas Spirit post)

Lemon Roasted Chicken (ps More on Backdoor post)

Mrs Wood's Heavenly Honey Cake ( Mrs Wood's Heavenly Honey Cake post)

Black Ink Spaghetti with Shellfish (Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia post)

Boeuf Bourguignon, Simple ( Food is Love post)

Smoked Salmon, Dill, Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs (One Plate Brunch post)

Heavenly Green Soup ( Things Green post)

Dark Chocolate & Chestnut Muffins ( see Sunday Muffin post)

Rhubard, Cardomom & Lime Muffins ( Sunday Muffin post)

Date, Walnut & Marscapone, Lemon Zest Muffins (Sunday Muffin post)

Apple , Pecan, Toasted Rolled Oats Muffins (Sunday Muffin post)

Susie's Red Wine Sausage Hot-Pot ( see Perspectives Men & Women post)

Mother's Pumpkin Soup ( see 70's Orange post)

Mimosa ( see Back to Brunch post )

Chestnut Panna Cotta

Artichoke Risotto

Risotto alla milanese/Saffron Risotto

Susie's Side Artichokes

Slow Poached Figs with Amaretti Biscuits

Janice's Fig Preserves ( see Getting Figgy post)

Chicken and Prawn Thai Green Curry

Mother's Waldorf Salad

Cherry Tomato and Pistachio Deep Dish Tart

Walnut Tart

Green Crunch Salald

Gorgonzola & Parsley Fettucini

Berry Pavlova

Susie's Pesto - Parsley and Walnut, Basil and Pinenut

Tomato Home-Tapenade Poached Chicken Easy Tart

Susie's Comfort Risotto

Pat's Basil & Corn Soup

Susie's Raspberry & Lemon Zest Tiramisu

Chicken Stock


Desperateanglohousewives has the goal to network with local, offshore women and men from all over the globe.

The writer, Susie, an offshore kiwi, is an avid food and lifestyle fanatic who wishes to share her passion for cuisine, culture and laughter. Susie brings you her weekly lifestyle comments and recipes of the moment.

Your comments count! Please click onto the comments section at the end of any post. We would also love to know what part of the world you are from...
living in France

Monday, 21 February 2011


Grappling for the silver lining...

It's the time of year when my teaching hours slow down from frenzied 12 hour a day stints to almost nothing. 

This is often a time a major stress for english teachers in the private sector who are paid on contract rather than salary. 
No teaching  = no pay.

It basically means no, or little, income.

Most school teachers in France have a state contract - at college or high school level they have a maximum face to face teaching time of 18 hours per week. For those of you who aren't "in the know," teaching hours are basically multiplied  by two for " real time hours"...this is to add preparation, correction time into the formula.

Their salaries are not the top of the pile but they do have 2 months summer holiday, 2 weeks at  Christmas, Winter, Spring and Autumn....all at full salary. Do the maths! 
Once in the public teaching sector you are set for life....unless of course you lose your temper and lash out, slapping a student in the chops!!

For those of us in the private sector, it's another game. 

I ended up becoming an english teacher. It honestly was not a " choice" but an obligation. There was nothing else open to me. My 5 year law qualifications and bar admission, plus 3 - 4 years experience in corporate law were of no value when I arrived in France 18 years ago. My self-esteem took a major battering as did my income, which plunged to zero.

Many of us ex-pats end up teaching business specialised english in one of the many language schools situated throughout France. It's a great learning experience to work in these schools but the matter is not that simple. Teachers are paid per hour of teaching (no pay for preparation, corrections and tedious paper work!), and often as low as 10 euros an hour ( holiday pay inclusive). There is no security of hours, plannings are often on a month to month or week to week basis. The contracts are CDD, which means they are only for the amount of teaching hours in that module/session. ie non renewable. You can't even rely on being on board that contract in the following year. 

Staff who "dish out" the work are often under alot of pressure to maintain their B to B relationship with respective clients and end up transfering that stress onto the teachers themselves. How many teachers have told me about how they have said no to one weeks work because of clashes and then haven't been offered any more work for months?!! 

There is alot of competition between the teachers for even the tiniest of contracts, the people giving out the work know this and often play on it -  a situation bearing on perverse.

Further, the number of " schools" offering english courses has become so large that the competition pressures these establishments to lower their course prices meaning that teachers can never hope for better pay.

This system offers no back up or security for teachers, who are often young mothers, and almost always foreign. 

So why don't they become teachers in the public sector?? Simply because one must be French to do so.

The safest places to work are in the university technical institutes, business schools and  university faculties. The work load is usually quite large during certain periods but the contracts are more honest, the pay is at least 3 times more, courses last the for most of the academic year, and there is not the competitive attitude between the teachers to grapple for the next contract. Most business schools put their teachers on CDI ( renewable contracts) after the second year -  this means that even if the contract is a few classes a week at least they have the security of knowing it is still theirs next year. Something one would imagine was " normal." 

But even in business schools there is not enough work to be considered as " full time." This is why we have very intense teaching periods where we simply cannot refuse the work as most of us need to put money away to get through the quieter Spring period. We come out the other end of these intense periods completely exhausted but happy in the knowledge that at least we have work to go back to.

I am now going into my " quiet" period after 6 months of weeks with up to 40 hours face to face teaching hours (that's 80 hours!). My silver lining is the fact that I work for a good structure and with an amazing team of both administrators and teachers. I now use this time to catch up on friendship, lunch out with the girls, plant my garden and spend more time with my family. The dust bunnies behind the doors get swept away as does my fatigue. The angst I once suffered when working in structures other than business schools no longer attacks. 

This desperateanglohousewife is now going to walk the dog, bake an orgasmic chocolate and lime cake and see if anyone wants to come over for tea this afternoon...

DesperateAngloHousewives invites you to write in with your experiences and comments on this rather sensitive subject. 
It is a subject which affects many expat anglophones who find themselves teaching english as a means to survive, regardless of the conditions.
Please write in the comments section or email:

Orgasmic Dark Chocolate Lime Zest Gateau

200gr dark choc ( 70°)
100gr salted butter
100gr fine white sugar
4T sifted flour
5 eggs
zest of one lime

Pre heat oven 180°.
Melt the chocolate with butter in a bain marie. Mix in sugar and flour.
Separate eggs and mix the yolks into the chocolate mixture. Fold in lime zest. 
Beat the whites until stiff and fold gently into chocolate mixture.
Butter and flour baking tin, pour in mixture. Bake 20 mins.


  1. Finally somebody talking about the dreadful treatment of foreign english teachers in France. About bloody time. Thanks Susie. From a long suffering teacher, doing it ONLY because he has to!!!!!!!

  2. Ex Chartered Accountant became English teacher and was treated like rubbish and paid even less than a cleaning woman. Was also expected to do mountains of paperwork which was utter blah blah blah. I experienced the "punishment" of saying no to work once when I had a sick child. I then went 2 months without work. Childish and unprofessional behaviour. Now left and do accounts for anglo business in Fr.

  3. Working in a language school is a good way to "get your feet wet" and gain experience that can then be put to better (and more lucrative!) use elsewhere. But even in the admittedly vastly better-paid and more pleasant atmosphere of the business school, there are still no courses in summer, hence no income from May-ish until mid or late September! Why is there no "summer school" in France? I'd be game for that! Hm; except that I'd have to give up girlie lunches, popping down to the Bassin to eat oysters when the mood hits... guess I better start saving up again for summer's lean times!

  4. @ janbordeaux. Agreed the language schools are a good place to start but they are unfair to their teachers. The pay is dreadful, the conditions shocking and the security, there is NONE!The games we play to get constant work are ridiculous. People get stuck in a rutt in these schools, they lose their confidence and simply cannot leave for fear of no work at all.
    Summer school exists in England, USA,Scotland for english as a foreign language. Would be good to start it here..but you could apply to work over the summer in Oxford. I went last year, great pay, and lots of interesting people and the conversation was always about how badly treated eng teachers are in France!!

  5. I am also one of those teachers that has had no work for a while as said no to something when I had no space in my schedule.I see the same person giving out work to others when I am in the staffroom but she totally ignores my presence. Its totally humiliating. I hope to build up my hours at the university so that I can leave there.

  6. GOD love this blog! Your words about teaching english are just so true. How much do business schools and univerities pay?

  7. @ anonymous..Universitues et al pay min 30 euros/hour of teaching PLUS 11% holiday pay.

  8. This blog rings true, once again. The issue of eng teaching in France is not a new one. My worst experience of it was doing lunches with clients one to one, I felt like a hostess cum hooker and was barely paid 12 euro per hour. Pay was less than teaching in classes something I do not understand.

  9. This blog rings true, once again. The issue of eng teaching in France is not a new one. My worst experience of it was doing lunches with clients one to one, I felt like a hostess cum hooker and was barely paid 12 euro per hour. Pay was less than teaching in classes something I do not understand.

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