Welcome to my first foray into the world of blogging. I hope it will be something that develops and improves with my writing style. It is my experiences of foreign cultures, many similar to my own and some completely alien as I live an expat life and throw in the odd journey or two along the way.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

One Thing Achieved!

I can leave Carla knowing that I have achieved one thing at least whilst being here. I have managed to make 27 French children and their teacher understand that England should not be used to refer to the whole island across Le Manche!

Delphine, my youngest's teacher, asked me to come into class and explain about life in England (in French of course!). Being Scottish I decided to take advantage of the situation and try to get it across to the children that there was more than one country across the water and therefore everyone was not English. So I presented the maps of Great Britain and one of the UK and explained that there were four countries - all very different.

My one day in class became three sessions of 2 hours each! I have managed to talk about cities, industries and tourists sites in England, Scotland, Wales and N Ireland! Learning new vocabulary as I went along. They had not realised that laws and systems were different between England and Scotland and that for years they had been at war with each other. But they loved the tale of Nessy and finding out that Arthur and Merlin had lived in Wales! I also treated them to some UK tastes - home-made rice crispie cake, shortbread and marmite on crackers. Marmite was not their favourite taste!

I could answer most questions posed though I was stumped (sorry about the pun!) when Delphine asked me to talk about sports particular to the UK. I couldn't think of anything and it was Delphine that said "What about Cricket and that game with horses and sticks?" Well, can you imagine trying to explain the game of cricket (which I have never played and rarely ever watched) in French to a bunch of kids and a teacher who have never seen it either? Even my lovely diagrams on the whiteboard did not enlighten them further!

As I was in school for a third time I thought I would take advantage of being in the classroom alone before the children came in, to take photos to show you what the inside of the boys' school is like.

On the right is our eldest's classroom. He sits at the end of the back row in centre of the photo. He is in CM1 and shares the room with those in CE2 and CM2. So the ages range from 8 to 11 (almost 12). The rooms are very basic and old. The photo on the left is the corridor outside the classrooms.

 This on the left is the class of our youngest - CP and CE1 - the first two years of French school (7 and 8 yr olds). This is the part of the classroom for the 8 CP children. They face one white board and the CE1 are to the right facing another whiteboard on the wall at 90 degrees to CP. You can see their desks in photo below. Teacher sits in the back right corner.

Our 3 months here has at times felt long but has actually gone quite fast. But it is good to  know that I've managed to educate a few french children on the geography and highlights of the United Kingdom. It was fun to be involved in the classroom and the children were very welcoming and patient with my stumbling over certain vocabulary. As with my last post - more good memories to take away.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts! Maybe something I've written about has sparked memories of similar experiences? Maybe you too have travelled off the beaten track? Send your comments for others to share!