Monday, 14 February 2011

V Day

I'm not entirely sure why I have entitled this post 'V Day', as really I don't plan on writing anything about Valentine's Day, I just happen to be posting on the 14th.

I am typing this from school, which is something that I never do, but I have some free time on my hands this morning and nothing to really fill it. To set the scene (as if anyone is vaguely interested!)...all this week there is a 'bac blanc' (like mock A levels) for my terminale students. So I have no terminale classes to teach this week. Therefore no 8am start today, yay! So I am working a very light 2-day timetable this week, consisting of 6 hours teaching time.

However this also means my room is required for some sort of exam-ness, so I have replacement rooms. Contrary to my concerns, I did manage to find the 'Salle Video' this morning. Unfortunately my students did not.

Well, quite clearly my students know full-well where the room is, they just didn't come. Unhelpful, some might say. And they can't even blame the faux-pas on being a clue-less foreigner like myself! So...I was here at 9am for a class that didn't show...and I don't have another class until 11am. It pains me to think I could have spent another precious 2 hours in bed! This 11am class had better bloody show up. If I get sent pupils who have already had the lesson I've planned I may scream.

(I would like to point out here, before we get any deeper into this post, that typing on a french keyboard is incredibly difficult. Whyyyy move the letters about? If I wanted a 'q' everytime I type an 'a' then I would request it one!)

I was concerned that, what with today being Valentine's Day and all, there might be some kind of horrendous staffroom protecol involve face-kissing and other formal salutations. Luckily I witnessed no such thing at breaktime. Although students did come round selling single roses, one of which was purchased by a married male teacher and given to a single female teacher. Some might call that quite the sweet gesture, but it's all a bit suspect if you ask me.

I feel like relations with my fellow (non english teaching) colleagues are becoming more awkward. If possible. I always say 'hello', 'have a nice afternoon' etc to the other teachers, but other than that I really have nothing to talk to them about. They are all quite a bit older than me and, in a very french way, rather moany. I just have nothing in common with them to chat about. And I'm sure they feel entirely the same way about me, as they certainly make no effort in return. I just come in, teach my lessons, and then bugger off back home again around lunchtime really. I don't necessarily have an issue with this, I just don't want them to think I'm being rude.

In other news, it is currently house-hunting time at uni in England. I'm sure you can only imagine the fun. Stressful, to say the least.

Well I have struggled on with this bloody keyboard for long enough now, So I'm going to go and maybe coerce some students into actually coming to a scheduled hour with me. Any students will do, I'm not fussy. Just bored. If I have left multiple 'q's in place of 'a's then I can only apologise. At least it kept you on your toes though!


P.S. Happy Valentine's Day. I'm not personally a partaker in the holiday, but I'm sure some of you are.  Not saying I'm adversed to it, just neutral. Unless someone wants to buy me a big gift. In which case it's my new favourite day of the year.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

I'm a bad blogger

I know, I know, I haven't written for ages. I forget and then I don't feel like it and then I think that I have far too much to catch up I put it off again! However, writing a blog post is on my to-do list for the day, therefore it shall be done!

I am not going to recap everything that has happened since my last post, as that would be dull for both you and I. I'm sure nothing monumental has occurred anyhow.

I did have a friend visit me here in nord-pas-de-calais though! Paul (who, for those of you who don't know, does my uni course with me and is currently living in Paris) came to stay for a few days. It was nice to see him and again and to show him the sights of my beloved northern France. We sampled the local delights of 'frites fricadelle' from the friterie, which was surprisingly good! After asking people what a fricadelle contains and everything thinking they're very witty and all answering 'everyone knows but no one will say', I turned to my friend Google and it would appear that it's just a mixture of pork. I think.

We also explored Arras, Lille and, of course, Lillers. Paul dragged me to this god-awful 'attraction' in Lille, to see the PROBABLE birth-place of Charles de Gaulle. Horrendous. But thoroughly amusing when we got stuck between two organised tour groups of old people who smelt like TCP diluted with urine.

The underground tunnels we visited in Arras were very interesting and definitely worth a visit. I'll let Paul have that one. Then after four days I bid farewell to Paul as he returned back to the big city. Hilariously enough he then got to experience french infrastructure and organisation at its best. In typical french style, the already bare sunday train service got cancelled/delayed/replaced and he had to get a (horrendously overpriced) taxi to the station in the hope of reaching his TGV on time. Which he did. Thankfully. I may have killed him had he needed to stay for another night. I am massively looking forward to my return visit to Paris though. I feel I may have the best part of this deal.

Last week was the much-awaited 6 day trip to Essen, Germany with the school. I was excited but a little nervous about the trip but I actually had a brilliant time. I really loved Essen and the woman I was staying in was lovely. Everyone was so welcoming and hospitable and it was a really enjoyable trip, for myself and the students too (they cried when we left their penpals! How sweet!). I think I consumed more food in that 6 days than I normally do in a month here though. Who knew Germans were so big on breakfast eh? I could handle the standard 'bread, meat and cheese' but breakfast invitations were a whole other matter. Smoked salmon, prawns, salmon steak, cured meats, smoked meats, breads, cakes, fruits, champagne, juice, coffee. I could have popped.

All in all, a lovely trip. I was, however, repeatedly mistaken for a student. And I was so embarrassed that I couldn't speak any German. Not a word. I felt awful in shops etc. Typical ridiculous Brit on holiday. I can't believe the only sentence I remember from the school German is 'oh no, my camera is broken'. Although the Germans told me I had good pronunciation! I may take up beginners German at uni next year to re-awaken this skill! If it goes half as well as my stint at arabic did then I shall have quit it before the first semester is out haha.

Now I am back in France. And incredibly grateful that I can (sort of) understand things once more! I feel like I haven't been at school in bloody ages though! This shall be rectified with my 8am start tomorrow morning though. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think that maybe, just maybe, the mornings are a teeny bit lighter now, non? It is only February and I have already convinced myself that spring is creeping in! I bloody hope so anyway. It was freezing last week!

Yesterday shall be rounded up briefly. I went to Lille with Hannah and Luisaidh and saw 'The King's Speech' which was thoroughly enjoyable. Colin Firth was excellent. Entirely questionable representation of Winston Churchill though.

That's all for now. I'm off to conquer the rest of my to-do list!