Before the hectic-ness that was my Monday morning..... I spent a very lovely weekend up in Sens. Despite my train between Dijon and Sens being cancelled (trains are mysteriously falling en panne- having electrical/technical problems.... my theory is the vacation's coming up pretty soon) I spent a wonderful Friday afternoon walking around in Sens and later hiding in cafés to escape the cool weather and misty rain.
Saturday we went to go see a film that pretty much embodies all of French culture :
Le petit nicholas
The petit nicholas- little Nicholas- is also a series of comics/books for youngsters. Nicholas is constantly off on new adventures or getting into trouble. The movie is a tribute to the books and a story about how Nicholas thinks his parents are having a new baby and his plan with his friends on how to get rid of it so he won't lose all the attention. Very cute, very French!
Saturday night, to celebrate the birthday of an assistant, we went to eat at my favorite Indian restaurant in Sens. I filled up on delicious Chicken Masala and Garlic Nan, and we spent the wee hours of the morning at the apartment in Sens with 13 people crammed in the tiny kitchen (SO reminded me of last year) playing charades and talking linguistics and vocab differences. We had several countries covered, and the conversations were a mix of German, Spanish, French, English and even a bit of Italian. A linguistically diverse group I should say!
Sunday we all got together again for a crêpe party (with Nesquick powder added to the batter. drool) in the early afternoon. The weather was crisp but sunny as can be, so Stéphane and I strolled along the Yonne and 'soaked up the sun' (which is his new favorite English phrase) before I hopped on a train back to Beaune- thankfully this time minus the delay/cancelled trains.
I've quickly learned that Monday mornings have a pattern of being confusing and hectic. Last Monday morning I didn't have a key to the classroom I was assigned. Thankfully a teacher opened the door for me and all was well after a few minutes. Later during the week I talked with another teacher that told me she would leave her key in her mail box and I could use it whenever I needed and return it later. What would you know, the key wasn't there this morning when I went to look for it. Parfait. So I went to la vie scolaire, kind of like the attendance office, to ask for someone's keys. Before I had even opened my mouth, the woman looked at me and said, oh are you the English assistant? Um yes. She had a message to relay to me (3 minutes before class started) that the teacher who usually gives me a group of students to work with was absent. Ok, she was gone last week too and there wasn't a problem. But she wasn't finished. She told them that I could take the whole class. Ha. Nonono. I looked at her in disbelief and kindly but forcefully explained to her that that was not my job. I was not a teacher, I was an assistant. I did not take the whole class, I took a part (already, I'm taking about the double the number of students that my job description says). I didn't have near enough photocopies for the class, and besides half of them had already done the activity last week. She just looked at me and said, sorry, that's the message she told us. Genial. Fired up and frustrated, I marched up the stairs and ushered the kids into class.
Bon, I obviously wasn't going to change the situation now, I'd just have to make the best of it. Thank GOODNESS I had made a double sided photocopy last week for the restaurant activity I did last week, as a 'just in case' time filler. The half of the class I worked with last week worked on that while I talked about restaurants with the other group, and in the end they performed for the whole class which was great.
While last year I don't think I would have been as bold, I marched right up to my responsable after class and shared with her about my frustrating morning and how I wanted to be SURE that I would not be told again (by someone other than a teacher), 3 minutes before a class, that I would be doing something that was NOT my job. Thankfully, she understood completely. Whew.
The rest of my Monday went semi-smoothly, besides dealing with some highly unmotivated rambunctious students this afternoon. Instead of feeling beat down while locking up my room after class tonight though, I tried to look at the positive. I now have the new challenge of finding some kind of activity that will engage all my students- tricking them into speaking English. I think there's a value to be had in a sneak attack...
Happy Monday everyone!
I know Sunday Stories is a bit en retard these past couple of weeks, bear with me. And photos to be coming soon of my new wheels!