Monday, 17 January 2011

The good with the bad

Really the only thing that's happened between my last and today is...well, nothing. 'Les soldes' (or the sales) started in France on Wednesday, so I perused a little and bought some things in Sephora because that it a shop we are severely lacking in the UK. But that was all. I am doing pretty well in my mission to spend less money frivolously.

Today started off a bit bleurgh but now I am in a good mood. I didn't sleep well (quel surpris eh?) and woke up with that 'wide awake but as if I haven't been to sleep yet' feeling. Not condusive with an 8AM start. Then the woman who normally drives me to school on a Monday went without me. So I strolled their at a leisurely pace and was actually amazed to have made it on time for my lesson. The class was actually pretty good and surprisingly lively for the first class of the day. They asked me to go to a club with them at the weekend and offered to buy me whisky there! Haha. I pointed out that it woluldn't be appropriate as I am their teacher. To which they replied that I'm only 2 years older. True. But no.

A lesson that I had in the middle of the day was rubbish. No one spoke or contributed and I got the distinct feeling that I was being talked about. Obviously immensely fun!

After this lesson I enquired about the trip to Germany that I'm going on. A it is in less than 2 weeks I felt I should probably know some of the details. It would turn out I was right in suspecting I am one of only 2 teachers escorting these 17 kids on a 6 day trip to Germany. I imagine the coach journey there will be nothing less than horrific. I am staying with a young German teacher who lives alone. This is fine. However, I shall apparently be spending all weekend just with her. This is where I see the communication issues becoming a real problem. If in doubt I shall have to resort to standard British behaviour of shouting in over-pronounced english. That ought to do the trick. Topped of with the occasional 'ja' for good measure.

I came home to an email from the kids summer camp I had applied to as an 'activity assistant'. Their email said 'We currently have no positions available suitable for your qualifications so we cannot continue with your application'. It's not like I teach children english or anything. I had half a mind to reply with 'I am interested in what qualifications would be required in order to supervise children doing colouring-in.' It may have come off as slightly bitter though. A simple email saying they had too many applications or something would have sufficed. Especially seeing as the position requires no actual qualifications! It just irritates me that this period of teaching seems to count as nothing. No qualification, no certificate, nothing. Grrr nevermind, I shall apply elsewhere. Just thought the nature of the response was a bit annoying!

I never look forward to this 4.35pm lesson that I have to return to school for. Last lesson of the day is never fun, it's starting to get dark by this point, I've been at home for a couple of hours and frankly, some of the kids in that class are rude.

However, the class cheered me up today! It was a group of 6 and they are all fairly well-mannered. I don't mind the kids being lively, I just don't want them being rude to me! It always helps when they at least pretend like they want to be here. They were fairly hilarious today though. In answer telling me what their partner had described as their perfect holiday, one girl answered 'She would go to Brazil. And she would go with Damon from The Vampire Diaries'. Me: 'What what she do?'. Student: 'So that she could fuck him all the time'. The whole class, including me, was in hysterics. I was shocked! Then, after a while she added 'or make love, if you prefer'. I am not questioning her taste, merely her judgement on what is appropriate! She then told me that she herself would go away with Jacke Chan so she could touch his bum. Definitely an odd choice. I did question that his age may be a bit much. She said 'not for my heart'. All in all, thoroughly amusing. Odd, but amusing. I was also told by a student last week that he wants to be a dustbin man when he finishes school. A noble profession, I am sure, but I don't know that it should be any 17 year old's primary ambition! And no, he was not joking. When I looked a bit puzzled he clarified with 'you know, with big bins?'.

That is all really. I thought that they were fairly amusing anecdotes but I don't really feel like writing much else. This evening I am feeling a bit rubbish about what I'm getting out of this all at the moment if I'm honest. For various reasons/influenced by various things really. I'm reall yenjoying being here but my year abroad is flying past and I just feel like I want to clutch some of it back and rewind time a little! There's so much stuff that I haven't done yet! Truly I probably just need some sleep!.
On that note, talk later!

Monday, 3 January 2011

A bit bored of saying 'bonne annee' now

I haven't posted in quite some time. Sorry about that (especially to you Maddy, as I had been providing your at-work entertainment up until my hiatus! You will, no doubt, be ecstatic to see something new to read, rather than re-reading old posts in your times of desperation!)

I'm not going to bother bringing you all up to speed. If I'm honest I probably wouldn't remember what's been going on anyway. I also risk boring myself to tears.

The long and short of it is that it has been the Christmas holidays. Now it is not. And I am back in France again.

I managed to miss my first lesson of the new term this morning. Keeping up professional teaching standards as ever. I often wonder why they let me be in charge of a class (I stumbled over a chair earlier and swore at the chalk. Case in point).

To be fair, it wasn't my fault that I missed the lesson. I was up and everything (quite an achievement being as the lesson was at 8am). However I can only assume that the teacher who offered to give me a lift completely forgot about me. So by the time I'd resolved to walk instead, I was late. So instead sat in my classroom reading Heat for half an hour until my next lot of kids turned up.

At the morning break I was somewhat overwhelmed by the 'seeing people again for the first time in the new year' process. Lots of kissing. Too much if you ask me. I was double-kissed by many people who I've never even spoken to before. Particularly uncomfortable as the double-kiss thing (aka 'bisous') is not something I've ever settled into. A good reason for this discomfort was displayed earlier, when I nearly kissed someone on the mouth mid cheek-change. Horrendousness. Well it was all very jolly. I have never seen my colleagues in such good moods.

This leads me on the nicely to another odd new year related ritual I have been told I must attend tomorrow at 5.30pm. Cake eating. Apparently the headteacher will buy a 'new year' cake and we must all have a piece. And this is something that families, colleagues etc will all do tomorrow on January 4th to mark 'Epiphany'. All sounds a bit bizarre to me. But I'm not one to oppose a bit of cake-eating. (Having just carried out a brief bit of google-based research, it would appear this is all supposed to happen on the 6th. I don't really know, I just believe what the frenchies tell me! For anyone whose interest goes beyond my butchering of this cultural tradition, the cake is in fact called 'la galette de rois'. Having googled it, it looks somewhat dry to me. All shall be revealed tomorrow. Or on the 6th).

My final notable moment of the day was being asked the explain the word 'milf' to half the staffroom. Apparently one of the teachers heard the boys talking about milfs, and wanted to know the exact meaning. They all seemed to have agreed on the general meaning of the word, which I clarified for them, but I came a bit unstuck when they wanted to know what the letters actually stood for. I just couldn't bring myself to say 'mum I'd like to fuck' to my colleagues! I told them it was 'un peu vulgaire' but this did not seem to deter them. It was subsequently googled though, putting everyone's minds to rest. And then one of my colleagues asked me if they were a suitable age to be a milf. I feel the British Council has not trained me adequately to deal with such situations if I'm honest.

That is all for now. Many other things on the agenda this evening. None of which are exciting but all are necessary.

Ta for now.