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

  • While playing Mafia with a group of students, one of the Mafia looked at his partner and asked, “T’es Mafia?” (Are you Mafia?) I felt so bad for laughing because he’d given himself away, but the rest of the class lost it too, so at least my laughter was kind of justified.
  • I can confirm that French teenagers are exactly like American ones: the Hangman word was “B _ _ _,” and one student muttered, “bite” (pronounced like “beet,” French slang for a certain male body part), and the entire class started giggling.
  • While I was grading oral presentations, numerous kids said that the solution to Trump’s wall would be to build a virtual wall, complete with lasers, fingerprinting, and drones. Who the hell is teaching these French students such dirty lies? I’ll find you. And then I’ll fight you. (This question is rhetorical, I’m about 99% sure that it’s Ml.)
  • Highlight of my assistant career: while playing Mafia, the students were voting for someone to kill, and one kid shouted, “Trump!” My job here is done. There’s nothing more to teach them.
  • Right before my lesson on Hitchcock with Jn, he gave the students a brief vocab quiz, which consisted of English-French translations and vice versa for words related to crime. One kid sitting at the front of the room, where I was standing, tried whispering to me in French, “What’s English for ‘mugshot’?” Hon, even if I knew the word, there’s no way I’d help you cheat on a ten-word vocab quiz.
  • I asked a class to guess how much I paid to go to college for one year, and they started at $1000. These poor, innocent children, so blissfully unaware of American student debt. (Their faces when I told them that R-MC tuition is $38,000/year were priceless.)
  • My favorite part about teaching fluent terminales is that you can be as salty as you want about a certain bigoted Cheeto, and they’ll all laugh because they too share your burning hatred of him.
  • There’s nothing more amusing than teaching French kids about American foods and witnessing their expressions of pure horror when they see pictures of chicken and waffles, or PB&Js.
  • Me: “What’s the capital city of Virginia?”
    • Student: “New York!”
  • Jt: “Would you like to go to the Richmond Folk Festival in Virginia?”
    • Student: “Yes, to discover the culture of England.”
  • Since a class was excitedly chanting, “Let us sing!” Jt found a version of “Let It Go” with the lyrics, and one boy buried his face in his hands and started moaning like it was the worst moment of his life.
  • Six months after I started working, students still ask teachers, “Will her presentation be in French?”
  • S: “You’ve discovered how to get absolute silence in the classroom! Ask a question, and no one talks.”
  • It’s kind of heartwarming when a student brags to his friends in the hallway, “On a l’assistante!” (We get the assistant!)
  • During my last day at Méchain, one student told me, “Good luck with living in Trump’s America.” Thanks, kid, we’re all going to need it.
  • That moment of amused sadness when you’re reviewing Scattergories answers, and for the “celebrities” category, one kid announces, “Marine Le Pen!”
  • Probably one of my favorite parts of this year was watching a group of secondes who’d never had a Reese’s exclaim with wonder, “C’est trop bon!”
  • Jt invented a fantastic system for discouraging students from speaking French during her class: having them act out the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene. And I know this is mostly due to fragile masculinity, but it’s pure beauty watching two guys uncomfortably and awkwardly act it out.

P.S. The end of TAPIF went out with a whimper: I was supposed to have my last-ever class today, but not a single student showed up. Walking out of the classroom, even if it was an empty one, was bittersweet. Well, I’m free now and don’t have to work again until late July, so… I’m taking one last trip this weekend, and then attending a farewell party organized by the Claudel teachers on Wednesday evening. For the moment, I’m celebrating the end of TAPIF by eating the Reese’s that I was going to give to my students this afternoon.


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