Thursday, October 25, 2007

Not a good day.

Well, it was good this morning. This morning I went to School One, which is by far my easiest school with the coolest principal (Mr. M.). I have pretty much unlimited access to the copier, as long as no one else is waiting for it, and I only have two classes. The fourth grade class is really bright, and the third grade class is pretty good also (almost typed that in French) and the students want so badly to impress me. I like that.

Then to School Two for one class with the hardest of the four groups I have there. I gave croises (marks) in the regles de vie (class rules; essentially I gave them discipline marks) to two of the most offensive boys. S* took advantage of the fact that I didn't remember his name and B* feigns stupidity because "I took German last year." I don't care, you turn around and stop talking. Luckily their classroom teacher, Marie-Pierre totally backs me up. Ah this is my favorite school.

And then to School Three. Thursdays are my most exhausting days. Lots of walking, lots of classes, lots of different levels. I got fed up with my fourth graders and gave them lines to copy. I spoke with their classroom teacher, Virginie, who has been nothing but sympathetic and supportive of my struggles with F*. F* apparently sees a psychologist, and he also takes advantage of the fact that he's not entirely right in the head. I think he has a filter problem, as in he doesn't think before he speaks. His seven classmates tire of him very quickly, and respond beautifully when he is strictly disciplined.

I also got fed up with my third graders at this same school. Their classroom teacher is also Virginie (it's a combined class), and there are eleven of them. I love the Turkish boys and C*, the boy who was raised in Ghana. I cannot stand T* who corrects my French, S* who is going to be a pervert someday if he isn't already, and T2* who won't stop friggin moving. These kids respond really well to songs and games - they did so well with Concentration - but they do NOT SHUT UP. I tell them in French, "You are being rude. I'm talking. When I say Listen, you do not talk." Plain, simple, decently pronounced French. And they continue talking. I play the waiting game. They continue. So I gave them lines too. I would have stayed to speak with Virginie again but I feel so embarrassed that I can't maintain control of the classroom with either of her groups, and I was also just exhausted mentally and physically. I feel like I'm going downhill with these two groups, especially because they're in the same class. They feed off one another. The most offensive perpetrators in both of these groups are well-known to the really nice principal (Mr. B.), but doesn't sending the kids who misbehave to the office every single class destroy my authority and also inhibit their progress in English? I really wish I could just cut this whole school out of my schedule. It gives me nothing but headaches.

Also, I've joined the high school newspaper. There is a name, but I didn't quite get it down. Apparently everyone else understood. Go figure. It should be interesting...I think there's a lot of sections, there's a paper and web version, and overall I think it's rather ambitious, but French kids are more apt to do things of this nature than their American counterparts. When the first web version is posted in December I'll post the link.

I also called Pops and Grandma!!! They're back from Italy. Oh I can't wait to hear their stories and see their pictures. Pops said they ate so many croissants. Yep, that's the European hotel's idea of a "continental" breakfast. You want eggs and bacon and cereal, you go to the well-known American hotels like the Ritz.


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