Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Their own words... "You will see, you will see!"

Slow blogging lately. I've managed to bury myself in papers that need correcting. I'm sitting on a pile of essays written by my secondes...the common title - My teenage life. From time to time I think I'll post portions of some of these essays to give you a sense of how some French teens see their own lives. I'll title such posts "Their own words..."
These essays are the end result of a series of short readings of essays on the selfsame theme by American students posted on a State Department website, EJournal . The american essays tended to reflect the centrality of high school to local community life and the importance of extra curricular activites such as sports, music and work experience to the typical American teen. As a pre-writing activity I had the kids do a fairly detailed breakdown of the different ways they spend their time in a typical week and then rank their activities according to various criteria such as: total hours spent, personal interest, long range value (future benefits). Then I asked them to imagine what they would do if they had more time. Lastly, these essays were written in class during a one hour period without access to dictionaries.
A word to readers, remember, these kids are writing in their second or third language. I'd advise you to put aside your red ink pens, and whatever school marmish tendencies you possess and simply try to listen to what these kids are trying to say...the typical self absorbtion of teenagers (alternately endearingly optimistic and other times laden with anxieties) is on full display here and in many ways it is indistinguishable from that of american teens. Having said that, it is very interesting to sift out the cultural and circumstantial differences that are manifestly present in my French kids essays.
For reasons that should be obvious, I'm not using anyone's real names. Enjoy....

the first essay excerpt comes from Sylvain...

...When I am not at school, and when I don't practice any club activity, I spend most of my time playing video games or watching television. Sometimes I see my friends or my girlfriend. But since I went here from Paris, I think time goes slowly. It is boring. When I lived in Paris, I could go out very often with my friends. Here there is practically nothing to do. Somebody told me when I arrived at Andernos, something like, "If you don't have a computer, you are dead! ...Unfortunately he wasn't wrong! But staying on a chair and spending hours playing computer doesn't excite me more than anything else. So when it's boring now, I cook!
It is so boring that I am nearly impatient going at school (not exactly but nearly!). I like the high school because it is different than college. Here we are more free, more responsible too. At the college we were "children". We didn't have enough freedom. for me high school is more cool even though it is more serious because we are preparing our future.
While I am speaking about future, I am going to talk about my activities. There is some comparison with the second paragraph, you will see why soon... I love sport. I practice kickboxing and badminton. For me, it is a passion, also it is an ability to evacuate all the pressure of the school. But my true passion is certainly the theater, and I would like to be a comedian! I aready hear you saying, "Haha, very funny." If I make you laugh now, this is not bad... But later, it will be better than that, you will see, you will see...


Anonymous erin said...

How interesting that kids everywhere are so "bored"! And how brave of him to share a sentiment like "you will see, you will see"!

1:10 PM  

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