Thursday, December 13, 2007

good days > bad days

Today was an excellent day. I did oral evaluations and written review in all of the classes, and will continue with it tomorrow. School One's fourth graders totally shaped up after Monsieur Modeste the directeur yelled at them. They were awesome, except that L* was farting like no other. Given what the typical French breakfast is (hot chocolate or hot milk, toast with butter, Nutella or jam) I think he could be lactose-intolerant and just not realize it. Anyways, it was good. School One's third graders were equally good. They just don't read or listen to directions.

School Two's crazy fourth graders did ok. Some of them surprised me!! I also ran out of photocopies. This is bad. I don't think I have any more photocopies at this school...and I'm not sure if it's for the période (marking period) or if it's for the year. Please be for the marking period!! Eeek!!! I really do like this school. Usually I eat lunch with the office lady I called Merci Madame because that's all I've ever called her, and the directrice Madame Cousty. I don't know why but Madame Cousty didn't come, but two stagiaires ate lunch too. These two girls are in their final year of teacher school and are basically student teaching. To teach in France, you need a licence which is basically the equivalent of a BA and then you go on to get your certification. You need to pass the concours which is an abysmally difficult certification exam. I haven't figured out if the concours is the CAPES or if the CAPES is something different. Anyways, the conversation started with Franco-American relations and comparisons, which I tire of easily, to education in general. It was very pleasant.

School Three is FINALLY starting to be ok. Luc, who teaches fourth grade English as well, and I are trading third graders next Thursday. I haven't a clue why. I met the wife of School Two teacher Christophe, Virginie, and whose son P* is part of the crazy School Two fourth graders. (Are you getting all of this?) Virginie was super sweet. My teacher at School Three is also named Virginie, and she let me play teacher! I got to herd the kids to récré (recess) and round them up afterwards. So awesome. I love this job, I really do. I hate hate hate hate hate it when I don't understand a damn word anyone says, when the kids are little devils, and when I feel lonely. But there are more good days than bad days, so I have to hold on to that. It must be said that a lot of what I do here is real teacher stuff, and that's not what a lot of assistants like about this job...even though it's a teaching job. I don't feel like any of the teachers ignore me, take advantage of me, or are rude to me - quite the opposite! While they may not entirely know how to approach me at times, that's ok because I don't know what to say to them either. It took me countable minutes to bring up the courage to ask the stagiaires at lunch even just one question. I walked up to Luc today to verify which set of nosepickers - I'm sorry, I mean students - we were trading - and I rehearsed the questions at least five times. I like that the teachers give me opportunities to assert my role as a helper teacher. I like that the students politely correct me. "Maitresse, c'est une faute, pas un, Well thank you S*! I like that people always ask me how I like Ussel, if I have anyone my age to hang out with, that I have a stack of phone numbers in my cell phone to call in case I get lonely. I like that I have a list of people here in Ussel to write Christmas-New Year's cards to. As I said to Merci Madame, I really feel at ease here. If it wasn't for my family being in the US, I could stay here. I exaggerate of course; France is ridiculous and I miss WalMart, real McDonald's (wtf is this nonsense), and toll-free 1-800 customer service numbers like you wouldn't believe...among other things. But France is a nice place and I'm fairly happy. Do you think l'Education Nationale could spare a couple few hundred euro more for my monthly salary? I'd really like to support the French economy...

I will probably post again tonight after doing more work. Agh I don't know how I'm going to do my révisions écrites if I don't have any copies!! They are going to get sooo bored if I just say "write fifteen sentences" or something like that. Also they can't write sentences. "I wearing is black pants" is close but is not going to get you full credit on the speaking evaluation.

I want to be home for Christmas so much. Sucks that it would take me probably 36 hours round-trip to get from Ussel to Camillus. Oh and $218,35,235 (which is still only 100€).

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