My son and I are leaving our small town in southeastern United States to live for a year in a small town in southeastern France. It couldn't possibly be THAT different, right?

Monday, June 25, 2012

The end of classes

    Tomorrow is the official end of classes, but honestly, they've been over for a while for me.  The kids have been so excited for about ten days now that I have not accomplished very much.  All last week, I showed movies:  The Truman Show to my quatrièmes, Ice Age to my cinquièmes, and Billy Elliott to my troisièmes.  I did that to preserve my sanity and to end the year on a positive note with the kids.  If I had forged on, we would have been at each other's throats, and that's not how I want to remember this experience.
    Besides, grades ended on June 8th, and the last conseil de classe was last Thursday, both of which are little carrots that the teachers dangle in front of the students to motivate them.  In addition, the director of la vie scolaire stopped accepting our worst disciplinary cases because there was no more time for them to serve detentions so anarchy has pretty much been the order of the day for a good while now.
    So, will my colleagues think of me as a slacker?  I have no idea, but I kind of doubt it.  I heard more than one movie playing on the language hall last week.  I think that we've all given up at this point.
    I've tried to refrain from vocalizing my criticisms of my wonderful hosts, but these last weeks of school have seemed pointless to me, and I have told that to my colleagues.  Ending one major motivator (grades) two and a half weeks before the end of school and removing the other (punishments) two weeks before the end seems crazy to me.  I feel like we could have used that time better.
    I shouldn't complain, though.  I got to see some great movies, and my students were little angels.  I spent several hours yesterday making one last round of Rice Krispie Treats and des roses de sables for them, and they were very appreciative.  I also made my first cheesecake ever for my colleagues.  I think that it turned out pretty well too.  I served it during our first coffee break this morning and gave out South Carolina flag pins and stickers.

    I was not expecting to fall in love with my students here the way that I do at home, but I'll be darned if several of them didn't just worm their way into my heart.  A few of them even liked me back!  Today, six girls (Caroline, Estelle, Estelle, Léa, Alice, and Elisa) in quatrième un presented me with a pretty silver necklace before class, and I had to fight back tears in order to start class.  I'll always treasure this sweet gesture, and I'll always be grateful for this unique experience.

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