A* is a little boy in one of my fourth grade classes. He usually spends English class with a pained look on his face. He frowns, he pouts, and sometimes his frustration becomes full-on sobs. Last Thursday, instead of outright giving them the question to answer, I asked them to come up with it. Based on "What's your name?", "What's your dad's name?". and "What color are your eyes?", what would be the question about the color of your dad's eyes? A* raised his hand. That in itself is a huge deal. Yes, A*? "What color are your dad's eyes?" he asks firmly but quietly. YESSS!!! YES, THAT'S IT! I shout, throwing my hands up in the air. Good job, A*! Even his teacher, Catherine, who usually sits in the back of the class with a slightly annoyed look on her face because her students can get pretty chatty, SMILED. I was so proud of him. I gave him a sticker. And guess who's regularly raising his hand and participating in class now? A*. Go him. I'm so proud of him.
F* has been a constant problem in the fourth grade class at School Three. When his teacher, Virginie, and I exchange the groups (I also have her third graders) we trade stories about how F* is behaving today. Last Thursday, he was an angel. Thank you for remembering your medication. He doesn't speak too well but I can understand, and probably only me, what he's trying to say. I was very proud of him and told him so. He even earned a sticker for that day (this is one of the classes that I'm doing the house=sticker thing). He said, "Rose, I like you a lot. I like doing English with you. I didn't like English last year but you make it fun." Thank you F*. I like doing English with you too. Today, Virginie and I exchanged the groups. She walked out of the classroom with an annoyed face: "F* is be a handful today. Don't hesitate to send him to the directeur." Ohhh, he did so well on Thursday! "Yeah, he was for me too. Today is a different story." Well what do you know, but F* repeated his brilliant performance from Thursday. He raised his hand, he was enthusiastic, he made an effort, and he totally earned his sticker. He also asked me for my email address. I'm divided. I don't really want to because I don't feel comfortable with it - I would have to think before giving my email address to a high school student - but I don't want to lose his trust. In any case, as long as he takes his medication (which I'm sure he has, there's no explanation for the drastic changes in his behavior), he's a doll.
F*'s classmate S* is enamored with me. She gave me the most poorly written New Year's note saying "Rose you are the best teacher." She invited me to her birthday party next Wednesday. "Did you ask your parents?" Surprised look. "Ask your parents first sweetheart."
Ben is leaving in three weeks. This is not an awesome happening, but he is an awesome happening. Fun conversations with Ben, translated from French:
Rose: Have you seen my watch?
Rose: Yeah I lost it.
Ben: Well, it must be with my glasses. And by with, I mean they've run off together. And by run off together, Rocio stole them.
Ben: It's in her blood! You know how she is.
(While trying to eat a baked apple for dinner) Ben: So...(struggling) how is this supposed to work?
Rose: What I want to know is what was wrong with the plain apple in the first place. Why does it need to be cooked?
Ben: This is really hard. (Apple ends up on his tray.)
Rose: Food shouldn't be hard to eat.
Ben: Like crab! It's delicious, but it's way too much work for so little food.
Ok that was better with the visuals. Imagine trying to eat a baked apple. It's not pleasant.
He is an intelligent and amusing fellow. He's very sarcastic (see first conversation), but not in the usual annoying way.
Christophe is one of my fifth grade teachers. He gave me unprompted praise today. This is étonnant because the French just don't do that. He said "I really like that you make them repeat so many times. They're really getting the hang of it." Well, it can be boring, but at least now they're conjugating irregular verbs! "Yes. You're really doing well." Christophe is fantastic. Sylvie, my other fifth grade teacher, had a student observer. Sure, let her in, the more the merrier. Even the student observer said that she liked the lessons, that she liked how much they were required to move and talk and recognize.
Also I think I have the French plague, but I'm stronger than it. I think the last time I was sick was maybe in February 2007. I don't get sick very easily. Lots of tea and lots of rest. Yay!