Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Heezahbal and Vile Coyote















  • Lucile reads aloud from her paragraph describing her teacher. "Heezahbal." I write on the board, "He is a ball?" Lucile is startled, then laughs. We work on the pronunciation, "He is bald." It's cute most of the time, but there are times when I have no idea what they're saying to me. Sometimes I revert to French; sometimes I simply hand them the chalk and send them to the board to write what they are saying in English. They all have such beautiful penmanship.

  • Last week I gave the class an assignment that required them to draw a cartoon for the following caption, "Everybody back in the bus! We can look at the Grand Canyon when we get home and watch the video." One very clever student created a pretty funny tableau of a teacher pulling out his hair while his young charges were engaged in various death defying activities (balancing on the canyon rim, playing with scorpions and rattlesnakes, climbing cactii etc...) One kid was facing down a coyote. The artist had labelled the coyote, "Vile coyote." It turns out the student-artist had in fact meant to reference the character from Road Runner. (who, in truth, is neither vile nor wiley) . We had a chuckle and learned two new words, "vile" and "wiley".

  • Last week a boy asked me, “Do you give a lot of homework?”

I said to him, “I don’t kow. How much is a lot of homework in France.”

He smiled coyly and declined to answer.

  • In my two hour class (1es Renforcé). I’m halfway through the class when I hear the soothing tones of the passing bell (our bells are like electroshock therapy by contrast). We’re halfway through, I think to myself. I push on with the lesson. About five minutes later, a girl to my left politely seeks my attention.

“Monsieur?”

I look up. She seems hesitant, but then she plunges ahead.

“Vous voulez prendre un petit café?”

It takes me a few seconds to grasp the situation…is she offering to get me a cup of coffee? is she asking me out? do I look like I need a cup of coffee? and then it hits me. They want a break. I’m utterly charmed by the method of asking.

“5 minutes!” I say. Everyone is suddenly energized and all smiles. I leave the room last to lock up, then I head across the courtyard to the teachers’ room. I see the philosophy professor, a garrulous old veteran.

I ask him, “Is it normal to take a break in the middle of a two hour class.”

“It happens. Some teachers do that, yes.”

Some teachers…. so I’m one of those teachers now, whatever that means.

  • after class today a group of three girls and a boy hung around. When everyone had cleared the room, one of the girls said, “Monsieur?”

“Yes?”

“Will you help us organize a ball like the one in your yearbook?”

“A ball?”

“Yes. A dance at the end of the year where everyone wears certain clothes…”

“Yes, I know…”

“And the girls have something on their wrists.”

“A corsage.” I’m thinking to myself, is it a corsage? I never went to the prom or spring formal. Do they realize who they’re asking for help with this?

I hear myself saying, “Sure, I’ll help you.”

“Could we see the book again?”

“The yearbook?”

“Yes.”

I promise them I’ll bring the LHS yearbook (2004) next class and let them borrow it for a few days. They seem completely satisfied with the turn of events and they bid me have a good day and are gone.

Alone in my room, I think to myself, what do I know about spring formal? Lets’s see…I could show them the film “Carrie”…then it hits me. I can turn this one over to the real experts, the students at LHS. Could there be a cross cultural exchange brewing on the subject of spring formal?....on verra.

K

1 Comments:

Anonymous erin said...

They sound quite charming! Good move not showing them Carrie. And keep us posted on how this experient goes- how cute! Love, Erin

12:34 PM  

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