French School a farce?


Ray forward this message he received from Téa’s school yesterday. A few interesting things to note. One is how they wrote Téa, not Tea!  Téa loves that everyone here spells her name correctly, with the accent aigu always over the ‘e’ and she loves how the French pronounce her name so beautifully. When we told my father way back when about our new baby’s name, he said, “Tear? You are going to name her ‘Tear?'” but that is how he pronounced it with his usually-wonderful Boston accent.

Another interesting thing is that Téa was absent for the entire school day but we only got the message about her missing this one class. Which is why we let her miss school, sleep in, go to the cafe with us and watch Good Will Hunting (such a great movie!!). She only had one class yesterday. She is in 8th grade and only had one class the entire day on Tuesday and it was English (and they have moved on from To Kill a Mocking Bird, which Téa read with her class in Amherst in the fall, to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which Téa read with her class in Amherst right before she left for France). Two works to be enjoyed more than once, for sure, but still.

When a teacher in France is absent they don’t get a substitute teacher, but French teachers are absent a lot. To be fair, this week the older students have IB exams so some teachers have been pulled to help administer those.  IB exams aside, this canceling of classes due to no-showing teachers happens all the time. Téa had only two classes on Monday with a four-hour break in the middle of the day. So she and her friends went shopping for four hours in the middle of school on a Monday! If we were here long-term I would complain, but Téa is enjoying her flexible schedule so much, learning quite a bit about the benefits of public transportation, and speaking at least some French on these excursions away from school, so I am letting it go. Still it’s hard not to think of a U.S. parallel:  It’s MCAS time for 7th graders at ARMS, so the 8th grade teachers help with testing and all of the 8th grade students hop on  PVTA buses and roam unsupervised around Hampshire Mall all day.  Somehow I don’t see this going over too well with Amherst parents.

It is now Ascension so even though French schools don’t close for vacation around Easter, and have school on Good Friday, they close for two days when Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after his resurrection from the dead. Okay. Why? I don’t think we got the day off for Ascension when I taught at Convent of the Sacred Heart! Fortunately, Téa’s friend, Mimi, from Amherst, who is doing an exchange in Grenoble, is here visiting for a few days. They just had lunch (delicious Vietnamese sandwiches) and are off exploring the shops in Bellecour. Téa could definitely write a teenager’s guide to the best shopping in Lyon after all her experience. If she can write it in both English and French by June, I will delete this post.



One thought on “French School a farce?

  1. I wouldn’t worry too much. I had large blocks of time open in high school and we would either go eat French fries and tab, go shopping or go to the arcade to play pac man. I think I turned out relatively ok. 🙂


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