What a day! I only took one class, but with the rest of life-with-kids, I can’t imagine doing more. I am in the C Section of Mme. Jenks’ French II class. I will explain the daily schedule at a future date, but just know that if I am following a C class,
- it will meet at different times every day,
- and not necessarily every day,
- and will sometimes vary week to week.
Did you get that? (If you did, please explain it to me.)
So, today, C Period started at 10:56. Tomorrow, it starts at 1:12; no class Friday, and Monday (quiz day) it starts at 7:57 (“Um, hello, may I please speak to AM?”)
OK, so 10:56. The “bells” between classes, by the way, are super civilized. Sort of like a symphonic version of what the Queen would do if she rang for tea. Very pleasing.
I ran by my pal Sloane's ('15) locker again--she’s got some cool stuff up there. I keep meaning to leave her a note. She’s the daughter of my classmate/pal, and she has just started 7th grade. Shoot, I’m always rushing. Tomorrow.
Mrs. Jenks beckons me in with a cheery “Bonjour!” (I think teaching French must have some magical preservation powers since she is truly the same person she was 30 years ago. How is that possible?)
We all file in and one of the girls asks, “Are you the Alum who is coming back to take classes?” I admit it, and she says she read about me in the Ultra Violet (remember the UV?). They have just published an article about me in the school newspaper. I have just seen it, and I will only say that they published a foreshortened photograph of my arm, with me in the background. Holy cow!
So we begin with Mme. Jenks introducing the new kid (me), all in French. I am pleased that my classmates and I understand her. Although the word in French for “former” (student) is “ancienne.” Alors.
She hands back our tests from Chapitre 6. I’m not on the receiving end since I’m the new kid but I’m full of angst as I hear various academic equivalents of Homer Simpson’s “Doh!” when they see what score they got, what they missed, and when they try to pepper Mme. Jenks with questions about how this test will affect their overall grade.
Mme. Jenks warns that the spelling mistakes were several, and that the students need to take more heed. (Just like in Global Studies; just like in life. Heck, just like in 1st and 3rd grade. Do we ever learn to spel?)
Oh, the humanity!
Sangfroid-ly, Mme. Jenks assuages concerns, and we move on to Chapitre 7: that for which I am here. (“This is the sort of French up with which I will not put!)
Whoa, she has the same handwriting. Wow, it’s like muscle memory. How does she do that? She’s speaking in French. OK, my French is pretty good! I scan the Chapitre. It’s all about health and sickness. There’s a conversation in the textbook about how bad it is to skip meals. I haven’t had breakfast.
Je suis toute raplapa! OK, that word was not invented before 1981. Raplapa. You know that’s like “verklempt.” It showed up on French Saturday Night Live last century, and now everyone’s feeling raplapla.
Madame asks us to turn to page 189. Sorry, that’s cent-quatre-vingt-neuf. Numbers were always so hard for me. That one in particular--it’s like saying “one hundred-”four times twenty”-nine. No problema!
“Qu’est-ce que ne va pas?” doesn’t mean “What doesn’t go?” and J’ai mal au coeur does not mean “I am heartsick.”
So, we’re talking sickness, now. Turns out a cold is une rheume. And it finally hits me: Aha! Inspector Clousseau was asking for a “cold” for his monkey, not a room. (“I’d like a rheume for my minkey.”)
She speaks to them almost wholly in French, en Français. She asks, “What do you say to someone who êternue (sneezes)”? I almost answer, “Gesundheit.” Wrong class.
So, “J’ai la grippe porcine” doesn’t mean “I ate like a pig,” it means means “I have Swine Flu.” A few people in the class suffered la grippe porcine, and we conversed about the symptoms, en Français.
Then we go over the passé composé of reflexive verbs. Wow! Je me suis amusée. Elle s’est ennuyée. But, if you have a direct object right afterwards, then you don’t agree the past participle, like je me suis lavé les mains.
Note the difference in Rasé: “Je me suis rasé les jambes” (I shaved my legs) vs. “Je me suis rasée” (I shaved.) OK there’s another example of teaching to all girls. You know if boys had been in this class she couldn’t have raséd that example.
Class is a whirlwind, and I run to the lost-and-found sale to buy some Marlborough swag, and then home before the girls get home. I’ve got homework, so I’d better get to it.