Friday, September 17, 2010
A Lively Exchange
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.