Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lycée N°2

Well. I'll try to make this post interesting, but I've been putting it off for so long because I know that it's going to be dull. But I did say that I would write it, and school does sort of take up most of my time (although I'm pretty sure I have fewer hours of class here than at my first school, but that's not the point). Here we go.

I start at 8h15 with physique-chimie. I don't really like that class because it's just a repetition of what I've already learned. Too easy.

Then I have 2h of français. The teacher's kind of intimidating, but she loves me (in spite of my American-ness), so that class is okay.

An hour of anglais is next. The teacher is not a native English speaker; she makes mistakes; the textbook is horrible (Sample sentence: "The man was scuttling like a rabbit." You try saying that with a French accent without laughing.); but we're playing a game involving verb conjugations and I'm winning. So it's all good.

Then I have an hour for lunch in the cantine. The food is so good. It's incredible. They serve things like duck. And crème brûlée. It's easily my favorite part of my day at school especially since at this point I don't have any friends.

After lunch I have an hour off while my classmates take Spanish or German--at this school they decided I could count Latin as my second language (usually it doesn't count, but I'm special). It's always an interesting hour because I'm not clear on the rules at this school. I know you can't be in the hallways, or else, and it's not a good idea to go outside because the doors are unlocked/locked rather unpredictably and besides it's cold. So this leaves the student lounge place, which is usually locked and always unsupervised... and the CDI (library). But sometimes there's a class being held in the CDI and so it's closed. Mostly I run to the CDI before the class can start and install myself in an inconspicuous desk and pray not to get kicked out. Which has worked so far, but I don't know how long it's going to last. We'll see.

Anyway, then I have math, in which I am horribly, horribly bored because I've already learned the material. Twice. At Lycée N°1 and in the U.S. At first I didn't take notes in that class because I already had the pertinent information, in the same notebook, no less. This turned out to be a Bad Plan, because when the Kid Who Doesn't Speak French doesn't take notes, she must not understand, right? So the teacher stopped the class to reexplain composite functions to me. For the fourth time. If I learn nothing else this year, I'll at least have a solid multilingual understanding of fonctions composées. Which may be helpful later in life, you never know.

My last class of the day is latin. I love the latin teacher. She's enthusiastic. She tried to translate Latin to English and check the translation with me, but she did it out loud, and oh my word her accent. I couldn't tell what was Latin and what was English. So I told her "Très bien," and smiled nicely. But seriously, I really appreciated her making an effort to include me in the class because a lot of the teachers just ignore me and I have to fight to be acknowledged.

So then I finish at 4:30, except that I signed up for theatre class, which lasts two hours, until 6:30. And then I can go home, except that the bus is at 6:28 and 7:11. It is very cold and very dark, but I have to say, that class is very worth it. At the end of the year we're going to perform a musical adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac written by the teacher. Who clearly thinks she's the best thing since sliced bread, but all pessimism aside the play's going to be terrible.

Well. Now that brings us to Tuesday (Thank God I don't have school on Saturday because 5 days are more than enough to describe, and to read about too, I'm sure. Sorry.)

I start at 10:20 (yay!) with an hour of math (boo!). Then there's just one more hour of class (French) before lunch. After lunch the day passes a little more slowly, with two hours of histoire-géographie and then two hours of TPE (cf. previous posts). I do like history and geography, but I'm not a fan of the French method: The teacher lectures and then dictates word for word, subheading for subheading, the notes we're supposed to write. So basically it's the same information twice. Today (Thursday) I tried a little experiment: I wrote all the things the teachers wanted us to write, in the appropriate colors and with the appropriate underlines. And franchement, j'en ai marre of school. I'm starting to feel the restrictiveness of the French school system. (Stage II Culture Shock! Woohoo!) But that's not what I'm supposed to be talking about. Tuesday. TPE. Right.

Well, I'm working with 2 boys on a project about penicillin. I'm not sure exactly what our goals are, but hey, neither are they. They have no idea what they're doing with their research (they can't format a bibliography! The horror!), but all in all it's nice working with them. I don't feel like a burden for not speaking French. Although unfortunately one of the boys canNOT understand my accent no matter how hard I try (well, when I try to pronounce things correctly my American accent gets worse; go figure. But anyway.). I've concluded for the sake of my self-confidence that it's his fault, not mine, because everyone else usually understands me. It does make collaborative research a little difficult though. Luckily the other boy can translate. But I can't understand a thing HE says because he mumbles. It makes for an interesting two hours.

After that I get to go home (5:30).

I have 2 hours of math, one hour of SVT, and lunch at 11:3o. Then I have an hour and a half of physique-chimie, and I go home at 2. So no free Wednesday afternoon, really, but no school on Saturdays either, so I'm happy with my schedule.

So SVT: I'm sort of lost because I've never taken bio, but I'm starting to get the hang of it. And the teacher is apparently really funny, but more subtly and darkly than I can understand en français. I'm looking forward to getting his jokes. I think that's all? Oh, today we dissected a liver and it was yucky. Now that's all.

Jeudi (The end is near.)
I hate Thursdays. I have 4 hours of science, and science is...not my favorite. But on the bright side I start with an hour of latin, which is nice if a bit somniferous (from the Latin somnus = sleep and fero = to bring). Then two hours of physique-chimie, a break for lunch, and it's back to abject misery with 2 hours of SVT. The last hour of class is Histoire-Géo on A weeks and ECJS on B weeks. ECJS = éducation civique, juridique, et sociale. We're doing a research project due in January about how French politicians are increasingly treated like celebrities. Or actually, nobody's doing anything (it's due in January) but that's what the teacher said we were doing.

An hour of SVT, an hour of Français , and 2 hours of EPS (gym class). We've been doing relay races (I mean the legit track and field kind) but tomorrow we start boxing. Boxing. At least it's inside; relay races were outside in the cold and the rain and the wind. It'll be, um, a good cultural experience. Anyway, then we all change our clothes very quickly to be at the head of the lunch line because otherwise you have to wait forever.

After lunch I have an hour of math, an hour off during everyone else's Language #2 during which I engage the same strategy as on Monday, and an hour of English.

Then it's the weekend, and I can rest or see Paris or do whatever it is exchange students do on the weekend (as in NOTHING, but I'm working on it. Yesterday I went to a fair with my classmates because we didn't have school. See? I have a social life, kind of.).

Right. Well, that's all. Please let me know if I've left anything out, although I don't know how I possibly could have, what with the longueur of this post and all.

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