Wednesday, October 14, 2009

After two days of teaching

Getting to know dozens and dozens of new people in the next few weeks means that I'll be learning as much, or more, than my students -- about these students, about French and France, about teaching (I hope).

I learned that President Sarkozy is not popular amongst my Tuesday afternoon high school seniors (terminales), on the grounds that he wants to change the driving age from 16 to 18. (Guess which current president is popular?)

One student asked me, in all earnestness, what I thought about celebrating Columbus Day; another asked me if I was married (and offered to introduce me to some people).

All the high school students like music: Eminem, Bob Marley, Outkast, a French singer they were aghast to learn I didn't know. I told them I didn't know any French singers, so they whipped out their ipods. But one girl said she only listened to American music, another said she only had Arabic music on her ipod, and the third flipped through song after song 'til she found something that would give me a good impression of French music.

That was the high school. At the middle school, the 11-year-olds jumped out of their seats to ask me questions and show off their English (or really for any other reason). I opened my red moleskin notebook, and a girl exclaimed, sotto voce, "Elle a le journal de Bridget Jones!" That class has been studying English for less than a month, but they're eager to hazard guesses at what I've said, and they pronounce the few sentences that they do know very carefully. They ask me my favorite color, my favorite food, if I like purple ice-cream, if I have any pets. Purple ice-cream, by the way, isn't "purple cow" or some other American oddity, but lavender, according to their teacher. Bien sur.