What Happens in Class, Doesn’t Stay in Class VIII

  • K had me read aloud English climate change vocabulary so that students could give me the French equivalent, and then she asked if I could do the reverse. I took one look at the list and went, “I’d die in a natural disaster.” (Lit classes don’t really teach you how to say “tornado” or “forest fire.” The only reason I know the French for “hurricane” is thanks to the French Mulan.)
  • While doing black stories with Mg’s class, I was trying to get them to guess “the hiccups,” so I said, “It’s something that happens to everyone.” One kid raised his hand and proceeded to ask, “Is she a call girl?”
  • I spent an entire hour literally twiddling my thumbs because At’s students were taking a practice reading comprehension exam. J gave me a copy of the test, and I decided to see how quickly I could finish it— 10 minutes, which was a poor life decision, because I had to go back to my thumb-twiddling. Clearly, we assistants are being put to good use.
  • One of Mc’s students asked, “Are we doing the synthèse today?” and Mc confirmed that they were presenting it to me. The kid then muttered, “Merde” while face-palming.
    • Another student asked me, “Do you ever have a crush,” leading me to be deeply concerned until Mc clarified, “Have you ever had a car crash?”
    • The same kid asked me if I had a favorite car, to which I replied no. He muttered something I didn’t hear, and Mc translated, “He said women don’t know anything about cars,” and for a moment I wondered if the teaching program has ever had to penalize an assistant for stomping on a sexist’s foot.
  • The contract, the administration, and the teachers: “It’s illegal for an assistant to be alone with an entire class.”
    • N: “Hey, Tess is sick. Do you mind taking the class tomorrow?”
    • Me: “Yeah, sure!”
    • But substitute teachers don’t exist in France, so his students saw that he was absent and only 8 of them showed up. I gave them a fun New York-related quiz, and one of them saw Toby Maguire in The Great Gatsby and exclaimed, “Spider-Man!”
  • Probably my favorite line from the hundreds of oral presentations I’ve had to listen to was, “He died in a ditch. Poor guy.”
  • S asked her class, “Who is the Vice President of the United States?” and a kid replied, “Barack Obama.” Sweetie, I wish.
  • One of J’s students walked into the classroom, saw me, excitedly said “Hello!” and then walked past me saying, “I’m love this.”
    • The first ten minutes, I ran back and forth between students when they raised their hands to ask, “How do you say __ in English?” (I failed with emprise and dénonciatrice, and when a kid asked how long segregation has lasted in the US.)
    • I don’t know who was more horrified when J announced to her class, “One-fourth of your grade will come from Sarena”—me or them.
  • R gave me half her class for 30 minutes, and when I told the kids that I was supposed to bring them back and exchange them for the rest of their classmates, one boy screamed, “Oh no, not Madame G!” I’m not sure how to feel about the fact that they appreciate me more than the teacher.
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