Mama non grata

I took the tram with Téa almost all the way to school. I was going to stop by to meet the head of the “anglo section” as they call it, but when we were at dinner the other night Vincent advised against it. “The French don’t like parents dropping in,” was how he put it. We will educate your children – you stay home, thank you very much!

I wonder if French administrators and teachers also discourage parents from coming to school in the younger grades. I love having parent volunteers in the classroom! They are such a welcome help during the time I am teaching children in small reading groups and the other children are working at literacy centers. Or during Writers’ Workshop – it is so great to have another adult to listen and respond to children who are dying to share their stories.

I’m wondering if it’s the way the French teach that makes an extra adult feel unnecessary in the classroom. Téa says in many of her classes the teacher lectures, writes notes on the board, and then the students copy the notes. She is missing all the interacting and talking about learning that happens in American schools. It is interesting to think about the cultural differences here. Everything I read points to students performing better when parents are involved in their children’s schools. Maybe it’s the “how” the parents are involved that is different in France. Something I’d like to explore further if only I could get into a French school…


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