Friday, September 17, 2010

A Lively Exchange

As David Cameron described Sarkozy's furious berating at the EU leaders' summit on his policy of evicting illegal travellers/Roma, a not so heated, but quite lively exchange was going on at my youngest's parent's evening.

An unlikely venue in my opinion, but then I'm not one to air personal problems in public. (Ahem)

So there I was sitting in my youngest's chair so I know where he sits in class now, and the prof could also place me as his mother, although she'd already done that as we'd met to pass some cycling moments together on Tuesday.

First of all we had this complete idiot of a PEEP spokeswoman try and rally us to her cause. She did this in roughly 30 seconds by telling us there would be an open house at 8.30pm and we would be most welcome, that we could contact her on such and such a number and the website for which she gave us an email address (and not her husband's as I'd complained about her having previously!), and then tried to emotionally blackmail us for the remaining 20 seconds telling us our children needed us to participate in the life of the school blah blah blah. Tough. These parents associations - both of them - are squatted by the most boring, unimaginative, appalling, fearful, negative, bossy, controlling, thick French women on the planet. Spending 5 minutes with them ages you by 10 years, causes irrevocable wrinkles, and has you reaching for the deadly nightshade. So tough.

Next we had the English teacher, who, miraculously, is English (or Irish, she didn't say enough for me to guess precisely). She explained that she took the kids for two lots of forty minutes - not a lot - and her aim was to concentrate on getting them to feel at ease with the language.

So this French hatchet faced, thin-lipped battleaxe puts up her hand and asks what the targets are for the kids to know by the end of the year. We're talking 9-10yr olds here. So the teacher, a bit flummoxed, said they should feel more at ease with the language, and Battleaxe insists by demanding to know whether the kids should be able to construct a phrase.

At which point, the teacher asks for the name of Battleaxe's child and B refuses to give it saying that she doesn't want her child to be picked upon as a consequence. I think I gave a sharp intake of breath at this point. This was in front of a class full of parents. The teacher didn't lose her calm - she's probably seen worse; we are in France - and deducted that there must be an agenda going on here. She also realised that Battleaxe had older children (from where she was sitting) and so asked if Battleaxe didn't like her lessons.

"Non, je n'aime pas vos cours" said Battleaxe, and several bottoms shifted uneasily on chairs. She maintained that the kids learned nothing and her other children were none the wiser about English at the end of their primary schooling than they had been when they started. Other parents agreed with her.

The bit I appreciated was when the teacher said to them that 2x40mins was nothing and that what the kids needed was extra practice outside the classroom, and proceeded to give a list of all the things the parents could do to improve their child's level. Haha, that showed 'em. They were expecting a child to write sentences and have homework in grammar and such, which isn't on the curriculum and we all know how the French love to stick to curriculum, and instead they get a teacher who is trying to make kids feel comfortable about talking and telling the parents to get off their butts if they want more.

Old battleaxe had to come round in the end; thankfully she didn't stick to her guns as some excessively stupid ones do, and the evening moved on (slowly).

It was 8pm before I got home to the ravening wolves who had to be fed ASAP. Not easy to conjure up exciting food in 30 seconds when there are little leftovers, so they got ravioli. Had we not spent so much time on the teaching of English 2x40mins per week, I could have been home to cook up some fresh trout, so THANKS A BUNCH Battleaxe! Bitch.


  1. If the PEEP could have been eliminated you might still have had time for trout.

    Still. given PEEP and battleaxe, you'd probably have had enough of old trouts by then.

    and you won't believe the word verification


  2. LOL Fly. Love the wv, so apt!

  3. Oh Fudge. The teacher/student meeting is coming up soon. Husband will be out of town. I told him it was pointless for me to go b/c I wouldn't understand everything. This excuse will stop working soon. Please let me run with it.

    Nooooo! Don't make me go.

  4. reading this does not make me look forward to having kids. Can you send a babysitter to this type of thing?

    The mere thought of having to deal with French, overachieving parents makes my mind numb. Yes, I'd like my kid to get a good education but I don't see how this type of meeting with these types of people can ever be constructive... and your kids were starving whilst you wasted your time there :( poor you having to go through it!

  5. Samantha, I've found there's always one parent who ruins it, at least one, there may be two. Sometimes they just can't shut up, and keep droning on - oui mais... oui mais... - until you could strangle them.

    They are useful these meetings, but soooo painful!

    Piglet - the having kids is the easy part, it's dealing with the rest that stinks - schools, parents associations etc. I don't know what it is about parents associations but my friend joined one last year, taken in by the emotional blackmail. She tried to start a school blog that could only be accessed if you had the password and you should have heard the hysterics about paedophiles and privacy infringement that it churned up. Then there was jealousy because she belonged to one association so the other one wanted to block it.

    I tell you, the playground is a haven of peace and tranquillity next to a parents association.

    What you can do is befriend another parent and plead a doctor's appointment and ask for a run down of what was said over a nice drink the next day. :)

    I have forgotten meetings before now and had to resort to evasive action.

  6. Sarah don't hold back. I think that you would feel much better if you let it all out. ;)

    The local equivalents are havens of rational tranquility in comparison.


  7. LOL Nick. Ahhh I feel a lot better :)

  8. Hatchet face and battleaxe, I cannot get enough.
    Even the comments are educational, I can't wait to say "old trout".
    X David, NYC

  9. Hello David and welcome to my blog! :)
    I've just popped over to yours and am pretty gobsmacked at your gorgeous illustrations. What a fabulous talent (*goes violent shade of green*).

    I'm glad you appreciate the erudite nature of the comments, no riff raff here you know! ;)

  10. When I used to avidly read the Brittany expat forum it was always full of parents bemoaning the rigid structure and 'achievement' led system that was the French education system. No wonder so many of the local kids were so 'good' compared to the local yobs here - they were too exhausted from the homework to run around ringing doorbells and running away

  11. FF - of course no system is perfect and I'm sure there are dreadful parents (umbrella/pushy/parachute etc) in the UK. I've never experienced that sort of British parent though so I can only go on what I see here, and it's systematically a pain in the arse to go to these meetings.

    Actually the PEEP woman was so bad it was funny. She was certainly no salesperson and was probably prez cos no one else wanted to do it and her husband wants to run for mayor.

  12. vraiment t'es pas sympa avec moi et la peep

  13. You're right, Camille, but really, what is my opinion of you to you? Nothing.

    You don't care a toss about what I think about you, nor does anyone else around here, with a couple of notable exceptions.

    Looking for trouble on my blog is like looking through someone else's email. You're bound to find something unpleasant.

    This blog is my space and you don't have to read it. I write, sometimes exaggeratedly, to amuse myself and the gallery. Reading it when you don't like it would be a bizarre form of masochism.


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