Friday, 14 September 2007

Madame B. (may be unsuitable for some readers)

Yikes! Last night we met with Quinn and Maggie’s teachers, to hear about what the year will be like, and what they’ll be doing, etc. Quinn’s teacher’s name is Madame Gr.. which is a rather unfortunate name in that it means “fat”. She was far from unfortunate looking, with a pretty face and a quick smile. Quinn’s teacher is very friendly and cheerful. She enthusiastically talked about the different activities the children will engage in…

Maggie’s teacher, however, seemed to be the polar opposite. Her name is Madame B..., but would have done well with the name Madame Gr... She is short, round with piercing eyes. I’m not sure if I saw her smile the whole evening. After giving a general idea about what the weekly and daily schedule was like, she allowed for questions. After a few parents asked their questions, I asked the big one (I’m always the one)-

“Do the kids seem happy in class overall?” I expected a “oui, en general, ils sont contents”. But instead I got a long pause with a reflective look. Mme. B (she’s Madame B all right, but B for Be-ahtch) then went into a long depressing speech about how the whole process is difficult for the children. “They’ve lost their families, their language, their friends…” She explained that the students are generally chipper in September and October. But when November hits with its dark skies and ominous feel, the students hit bottom. This is when they want to stay home from school, have belly aches… and then she said the craziest thing I’ve ever heard from a teacher (especially a first grade teacher)..

“They even break their arms”, she said as she made a chopping motion on her arm.

WHAT?! COMMENT?! “Casser la jambe?!”

Oh, for God sakes, can I get out of here now. Is there no joy in here? I then asked if they sing and do art, and she did produce a book they are creating with poems and songs. And they have done a little art.

After leaving, a Canadian couple and I laughed and were shocked by how horrible Mme. B’s description of the year was. I also had to explain to Sean what the chopping off the arm motion was as he had caught the tail end of the lovely description. (She had previously encouraged all the non-French speaking parents to listen to the speakers down the hall- nice).

Then we met a Japanese couple whose son speaks no English or French (and who is only 5, the youngest in the class). After they walked away, I said to the Canadian couple after warning it was going to be inappropriate, (I’d known them now for over a week, and was ready to let someone really know me), “Come November when the students all “hit bottoms”, that poor little b…... is going to throw himself off the Eiffel Tower.” Sayanara!

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