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March 20, 2011

Where the magic happens

I realized that I've never shared with you the place where I indoctrinate young minds. Want a tour? OK!

Here's my salle, in all her glory. What's not pictured is the particularly springy leather chair that my students can't resist bouncing in like little kangaroos. Also not pictured is the secret room behind the chalkboard where I keep extra handout copies, incredible prizes for when I play games, and the carcasses of all the cell phones I've had to kill when I see my students texting on them during class.

The one teaching tool I have at my disposal is that chalkboard. And boy, is it a beaut:

It has tape stuck all over it and one inexplicable giant gouge in its upper left region. It's actually really hard to write legibly on chalkboards. Plus the kids already have a hard enough time reading my sloppy handwriting that is not at all up to French Perfect Script standards. Sorry kids.

I've been teaching for about five months now, and I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of it. I know what kinds of discussions gets them excited (stereotypes! Facebook! American high school life!) and what bores them to tears (politics! American football! racism!). My classes the last couple of weeks have been consistently good (well... there's still one class that casse-s my couilles, but the rest of them are petits anges), and, of course, highly entertaining.

One of my most amusing lessons to date has been on speed dating. I cut these pictures out of some magazines with my children's left-handed scissors and taped them to construction paper left over from my Francegiving decorations.  I don't have my camera cord on me so I had to angle my laptop's webcam over the table to take this picture. I really hope no one was spying on me when I did this, because boy was it awkward.

I asked the students to come up with a profession for their character, three of their likes and dislikes, and five qualities they're looking for in a partner. After a group of seniors had speed dated each other, I asked them to share what they had come up with. The girl who had chosen Kelly Osbourne ("Joan"), had decided that her character was a secretary looking for a man to do the cooking and cleaning. "And I 'ate chill-ren!" she said. "I 'ate zem I 'ate zem I 'ate zem!"

I now use her as  a cautionary tale in other classes as to why aspirating your "h" is so very important.

As my time here draws to a close --I only have one more month to teach them about processed foods and gun laws and private healthcare and all the other really wonderful things about America-- I've been reflecting on all the things this experience has taught me. I had a sneaking suspicion before I left that being a foreign language teacher might just be the coolest job on the planet. And guess what? I was right. I'm so grateful to all my little ninnymuggins (pronounced nee-nee-moo-gahn) for helping me distill what I want to be when I grow up.

Vous me manquerez. 


  1. I'm gonna miss my petits anges as well. I feel ya, hon.


  2. you're funny. I like this entry lots.
    <B Jenna