What do you get when you take a girl out of France and put her in the north-east of England?
Moi ! Nattalingo…
the Geordie French Storyteller!
Bonjour ! I’m Nathalie and I’m a French teacher
I have 15+ years’ experience of successfully supporting primary schools to deliver their French curriculum. But I like to do things a little differently – with my own canny little ‘je ne sais quoi’!
You see, I love a good story. (I mean, who doesn’t?) They have a great way of sticking in your mind. That’s why I use stories to enhance language teaching and learning – and how I came to call myself the Geordie French Storyteller!
So, are you sitting comfortably?
Good, I’ll begin…
Once upon a time, a young French girl, called Nathalie Paris (yes, that really is my real name!) headed to England in search of new teaching opportunities…
She was soon snapped up and lived her days teaching languages in secondary schools across England (for 19 years!). Most of this time was spent in the north east of the country – where they had an endearing language of their own. Nathalie fell in love with the ‘Geordie twang’ and came to see this friendly place as her ‘home’. She even picked up some of the local lingo.
But as her Geordie love grew, another faded…
By 2014, she had grown tired of teaching the students to pass an exam, rather than teaching her beloved native language. Her love for secondary teaching was getting weaker by the day.
However, for the past 10 years, she had been loaned out weekly to support language teaching in primary schools. And she loved it. She loved how engaged the children were, how eager they were to learn and how easily their young ears picked up the language… especially when she taught them through stories.
As luck would have it, the powers that be decided that languages were due to become compulsory in primary schools throughout the land.
“It’s now or never!” exclaimed Nathalie.
And she took the leap to teaching languages in primary schools full-time!
She drafted email after email – and sent them to the head teachers of dozens of primary schools.
“Would you use me, Nathalie, as your specialist language teacher?” she asked.
And, of course, with her experience they said yes! Not one but four three have her as their French teacher! And another would love her to be their Spanish teacher. “Magnifique!”, she thought.
So, Nathalie, got all set up as self-employed (a sole trader) and began trading as Nattalingo! She prepared for her new adventure, starting in September 2014! She gathered stories and props…and then she went into those schools and delighted the children. News of Nattalingo (the Geordie French Storyteller) spread and she began working with more and more schools.
However, she found herself surrounded by so many French books that she didn’t know what to do with them all! She began to toy with the idea of opening a French library, so she could share them with others. She even got as far as looking at potential venues!
She had kept this secret to herself. But suddenly, it came bursting out of her when she was chatting to her good friend Carol (The Fairy Godmother). In her wisdom, she knew just what to do… “What you need is a mobile library bus!” she said. And it was like a lightbulb had been lit in Nathalie’s head!
As if by magic, “le biblibook” was born. An old library bus transformed into a mobile French library – storytelling on wheels! Nathalie had 5 joyous years visiting schools and public places, sharing stories, mostly in French (with a hint of Geordie), and teaching children all over the north of England.
Alas, in February 2020, “le bibliobook” was growing tired and eating up all Nathalie’s earnings. It was time to say “au revoir” to her beloved bus. Its legacy lives on though, and Nathalie is still out there, inspiring children to love French.
So now, if you ever hear a strange Geordie French accent telling a story, you’ll know exactly who it is! Be sure to say “Bonjour, pet!”, won’t you?
The Nattalingo Way…
My aim is to ensure that as many children as possible have a positive experience of learning another language.
I believe that it will help them grow to be open-minded to the world around them – other languages but other cultures too, in their immediate surroundings and all over the planet!
My first passion is to work directly with children; my second is to work with school staff and parents, as they are the ones who work and live with them and therefore influence their experience of language learning the most!
How can I help your school?
If you’re a primary school, then I’d love to support you and your staff to ensure your pupils get a quality French education.
- Perhaps you want to introduce French to your existing curriculum?
- Or you are looking to enhance your current language provision?
Whichever, it is, I can support with planning and delivery of the French curriculum in your school – in a way that will excite and engage your pupils.
Who else do I help?
Anyone involved in the teaching and learning of French…
- non-French speakers
Yes, even if you do not know French, together we can help your pupils and/or child(ren) develop a love for it!
Giving a little back…
I’ve had a lot of support whilst building my business, and so I love to give back. I do so through the Association for Language Learning, the Alliance Française de Newcastle upon Tyne and the MINT Business Club, to name but 3.
Throughout, the Covid-19 lockdown, I produced daily free French lessons for KS1 and KS2 children via my YouTube channel. I know many parents found these such a help and some schools included them in their home-schooling curriculum.
I feel it is so important to ask for help when you need it, and to give help when you can.
By the way, I am currently looking for a charity that works with families and children and would benefit from my support for free. Please click here to get in touch if you can recommend such a charity for me.
Are you ready for Nattalingo?
If you have any questions or you’d like to work with me, I’d love to hear from you.
Need more information first?
What does a day of storytelling day in school look like?
It is entirely up to you! I tend to start with a whole-school assembly then spend some time with each class involved, either in their classroom (I move around) or they come to me (I may be based in the school library for instance). I can work with as many children as the area I am in will allow! I will ask you if you have any preferred topics, and if you do I will try my best to find stories to fit in with those. I can also bring a puppet theatre to make the stories even more interactive. Do you have any questions? Just ask!
Nathalie, are you actually a teacher?
Yes, I am and I am CRB checked. I qualified in 1995 and taught full time in secondary schools until 2014. For 10 of those years, I also worked weekly in primary schools, supporting the teaching of languages with younger pupils and training teachers. In 2014 I became self-employed; I currently still teach weekly, as a specialist French teacher, in 2 primary schools in County Durham and I fit the rest of my work around those commitments. I also regularly deliver sessions in a local nursery school and teach French for Newcastle University - so a teacher is what I am, and teaching is what I do best, I feel!
What languages services do you offer to schools?
I currently offer the following:
- regular teaching of French in nursery and primary schools (weekly but also monthly and half-termly)
- storytelling in French.
- support with the organisation and delivery of special languages days
- staff training on various primary languages matters, eg languages and literacy.
How much does it cost to work with you?
If you are a school, the following costs are within 15 miles of Consett where I am based.
- regular teaching: £80 per afternoon, £180 per day
- support with special languages day/events: £100 per afternoon, £200 per day
- staff training: £100 per hour
- storytelling in the classroom: £100 per afternoon, £200 per day; storytelling on the bus: from £150 per afternoon, £260 per day (based on how far you are, please contact me for a quote)
If you are a family, several options are coming soon!
If you are an organisation looking to make a booking for a conference or other event, costs will vary greatly. Read more here about what I can do.
Do you work with families?
Though I don't actually teach classes, I love supporting members of the family who want their children to learn French. Whatever your circumstances, i am confident that I can either help you or point you in the right direction, so click here to check out the "families" section of my website or click here to get in touch!
Coming soon: puppet shows in French to help you learn, and a course for children from age 7!
Have you got any experience as a speaker?
If you know me... you will know that I love reading but I also love speaking! Yes, I have delivered many talks, workshops and training sessions. You can read more here about my work in this area.