Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited


Everything posted by Mistral

  1. JulieR, I hate to say this, but I'm not very surprised with the comments you've got from the school. I've never had to deal with British pupils (most of our ENAF's come from eastern Europe or the magreb) but a lot in the situation is the same. What I hear in the staff room for classes without foreign pupils in is mostly along the lines of "I have got 28 pupils in 3emeB, I need to finish the programme, a third of them already have difficulties dating from years before. I just don't have to time to help them or do any remedial work. They've got to keep up" Once you add pupils who can't even understand the language the subject is being taught in, then most teachers just give up. I sometimes get very frustrated with my colleagues. Most of them don't bother grading a foreign pupils for the first year (but there's no set rule) and then suddenly they expect them to be up to level with the rest of the class. Yes, generally we do see non french speakers as a nuisance. We don't know how to help them and after a while most people just give up. Some of the basic problems with collège start (in my opinion) from the fact that all classes are supposed to be mixed ability. The classes are taught to the middle range, the brighter ones pick it up and then get bored (or just get bored without bothering to pick it up) and the ones in difficulty generally tend to give up somewhere during 6eme or 5eme. But the Holy Programme doesn't take this into acount. Every pupil is taught the same things to the same level. And if they can't follow, well that's their fault and their problem. To give you an idea of what the programme means, in histoire-géo, they have a set amount of hours for each stage of the programme (i.e. three hours on the 1st world war, 2 hours on the rise of fascisim...) They can't allow themselves to slow down for the French pupils in difficulty, they just have to plough on. It's not just the language (or lack of it) that is the problem.The programme is constructed in such a way that you need to follow every stage. My husband  skipped a year back in primary and he said he sometimes had problems later one because he had missed out on things that were taught that year. The later a foreign pupil comes into the system, the more difficulty they will have even if they are a fluent French speaker. If they arrive in 3eme, then they will be expected to know about the middle ages and the french revolution, the roman policier et fantastique, how to use the passive and relative pronouns, they will be expected to have studied one foreign language for 3 years and another for 1. Since all classes are supposed to be mixed ability, you'll see why the principal didn't want to change your daughter to a different class. It probably won't make any difference. As he told you, French colleges are based on a catchment area system (because they are all supposed to be alike), so you can't change schools either in the state system, although you can go to the private system. It is a lot cheaper than in the UK and often has smaller classes than the state system.  In one class I have 6 non French speakers. One has been in france for 7 months, he sits bolt upright listening to every word I say, checking with me (in german) when he hasn't got something, another who arrived 6 months before him has never yet opened his books or said anything other than "bonjour", the next has been in france for 5 years, he is bright and was quick and interested in 6eme, now in 4eme he's more interested in chatting with his freidns and finding excuses for not working. His best friend has been in france for 2 years, he has caught on to the "I'm foreign, I don't understand" excuse and trots it out at every opportunity, The next has been in france for 5 years, she tries hard and copes with the language but she's not very bright and combined with the fact she was working on learning the language and not the programme in the first years means she doesn't always get it. The last has been in france for 2 years, she tries hard, will ask when she doesn't understand and is coping well in most subjects as long as you don't go too fast (still having to explain the odd thing in german to her too) but really struggles in French and histoire-géo. Of course, there are 18 other pupils all with their own problems and behaviour (including a couple who have major behavioral difficulties). I have to admit that I am guilty of giving up (quite a bit if not entirely) on those who are not willing to give any effort because otherwise I just don't know where I would find the time or the energy to teach them the 4eme programme (which isn't easy) in 3 hours a week as well. I know this isn't really any help as a reply. It was more to explain why the school seems to have given up on your daughter. Opas's post contained some very valid points. Personally I would hesitate a long while before bringing a secondary age pupil to France.
  2. Hoddy, I'll try and explain what the report probably looks like. In France, the end of term bulletin is a single piece of A4 paper. You will have a table on it with a space for each subject the pupil has studied. There will be the pupil's average grade out of 20, possibly the average of the class and a small space for each teacher to write a comment. Comments are usually along the lines of "the results this term are disapointing due to lack of attention in class and serious work at home" (I'm giving an example for length not necessarily wording) At the bottom, there will be a resumé of all the comments/grades written by the prof principal or the headteacher. It won't be much longer than the individual comments. It should contain a comment about the results, a reason for the results and advice for the next term. So in France when you say a pupil has a bad report, it's probably not because of one subject/teacher but because the end comment is negative. That should only be the case is the majority of subject comments are. That's why the best person to start with is the prof principal, who will have been involved in writting the end resumé, who will have been present at both the conseil de classe and the conseil de profs and whose job it is to keep an eye on the whole class throughout the term. Chris, thinking about this and rereading, I really think it is very important for you to go in and talk to the Prof P as soon as you can. 6eme is so important. The sooner you can get an idea of just what is happening, the better. If you want me to try to analyse any of the comments on the bulletin or when you meet the prof p (translate "teacherese" as it were) don't hesitate to pm me
  3.   I agree with Katie, I think you should go in. If you were in the UK and you had a report like this, then surely you would go in as a concerned parent. Personally as a college professeur principal, I appreciate when a parent shows that they  realise that there is a problem and comes in to discuss what we can do to help the situation. I think the best thing is to ask to see the professeur principal (you should have a page for demande de rendez-vous in the carnet de corréspondence/liaison) Give them a week or so's warning so they can ask around to get an idea of everybody's feeling about your son. Don't go in accusing people of racism. go in because you're worried about your son and then gently bring in a comment about how your son sometimes has the feeling that people are less patient with him because of his non-frenchness..... As for anti brit feeling. Teachers are human beings; some of them have some very strange opinions and reactions. Some of my colleagues are unbelievably patient with non-French speakers, others complain that they can't do anything to help and leave them to struggle in one corner of the room, others give them a term and then complain they aren't integrated. Most of us do all of that in the same day depending on our mood. A lot of teachers in france seem to believe shouting at pupils is normal, regardless of nationality. Sometimes a problem has nothing to do with nationality. I don't know how many times I have been accused of being racist by pupils I have punished for various things.  "You're only punishing me because I'm ...... (fill in box)" No, I'm punishing you because you hit another pupil/ spat/ said NTM/ tried strangling someone/ didn't do your homework/ made farmyard noises in class/ set fire to the toilets......" Other kids trying to get him into trouble sounds pretty standard (unfortunately) they'll always find an excuse or a  "difference" to work on. But no-one says he has to do what they ask......
  4. Good to hear from you SB. Have a great Christmas
  5. Interesting that they mentioned that the fragments had been  "validated" by scientists in 1909. And when was she beatified? In 1909. Obviously a coincidence [;-)] Oh well, if it was her or not it's not going to stop me being accused of being  responsible for her death several times a year [:P]
  6. I think the only remake  in that list that I would prefer to watch instead of the original is True lies/la totale. Some of them are OK, some are pale copies, some are just plain embarrassing (yes, les visiteurs does come to mind) It's interesting how many are comedies.
  7. As a continuation of my earlier comments about whether or not my 9 year old still believed or not. She came back from school the other day and told her father that she wasn't sure she believed  Father Christmas existed or not. She was obviously hedging her bets and looking for reassurance. He father being the kind, psychologically gifted person he is, just said that in that case she wouldn't be getting any presents and then went back to the washing-up. She wandered off and came back a few minutes later announcing she thought he might exist after all.
  8. Lori, all the school is doing is checking that you know she's not at school. I have had pupils whose parents send them to school on strike days, but who somehow "get lost" between the bus and the school gate. Since our school doesn't send out absence letters for strike days (illegal, but it's not my decision) the parents don't know that their child has been outside all day and not in school. I can check on my son, but otherwise I would be furious. If you want to avoid getting a letter, then just fill in an absence slip in the same way as if she had been off school for illness. That way the absence is accepted as "justifié" The school isn't allowed to inform parents as to whether or not the teachers are on strike. It is considered as part of their "vie privée" Most teachers warn pupils in advance, especially in schools where a lot of them come by bus. Do bear in mind that some pupils can be quite imaginative about the number of teachers absent. I've had parents tell me that they didn't send their child as there was only one teacher present for that class when I know that in fact, it was the reverse; only one teacher absent. It's not usually lying. It's part wishful thinking and part hearing a friend say "wouldn't it be good if MmeX wasn't there?" and only hearing the end bit. Slightly frustrating as a teacher when you know that every teacher for a particular class is there, but still only 12 pupils come. If you do games/revising the parents who sent their kids complain because they didn't send them for that, and if you continue with the programme, the parents who didn't send their kids complain that they are penalised.
  9. I've found the perfect way on cooking andouillettes. You do them on the barbecue. That way it's your husband ( the one who wants to eat the things anyway) who actually has to stand near them and cook them and the smell is dissipated into the atmosphere and not into the kitchen. While you sit at the other end of the garden and eat food that actually smells and tastes of food. I'm proud to see that my kids have developed more British tastes at least where andouilletes are concerned. The whole of the French family love them.
  10. The SNES has decided to call for a strike next Monday (18th December) It looks as though it is only on secondary schools and, as usual, the private sector won't be concerned. More information here: http://www.snes.edu/snesactu/article.php3?id_article=2387 I had been wondering, there is usually a strike some time in December and I hadn't heard anything.
  11. Marseilles has two major hospitals: Nord and La Timone. I don't know anything about Nord, but my son has been going to La Timone enfants for the last couple of years. The main thing I can say about it is that is very, very big. It is one of the most important hospitals outside of Paris. There are patients there who come from Nice. As for weather; Personally, I find the summers unbearably hot. From about mid-June I feel uncomfortable and have difficulty sleeping. I'm never here in the hottest part of the summer as we tend to escape northwards. The pleasant side of that is that spring is warm and starts early (if you see what I mean) and autumn is usually mild too. It can still be hot up to the end of september. We usually don't put our heating on until the first week of november. This year we put it on last Saturday for the first time. It can be wet. It doesn't usually rain for more than 2 days at a time (I used to live in scotland, where you could have 2 weeks) But it has rained or the air has been damp a lot this autumn. The mistral depends from year to year. The more mistral there is, the less rain. If you're not used to it, it's difficult to believe just how strong and cold it can be. Just one day of mistral can really bring the temperatures down. It is worse the nearer you are to the Rhone and as you go south.
  12. I think that was why I posted the question. I know most collège pupils can do it, that's what they are being trained for. What I don't really understand is the point of that training. You give them a question like that and they all know what a connecteur temporel is, but then when you ask them what a verb is, 27 out of 28 will give you the stock answer of "it's the word in the sentence that  is conjugated" without being able to find one in a simple sentence. I read too many texts written by kids who know all the rules and can do this sort of brevet question but cheerfully make no difference between "é" and "er". I remember one class of second (who logically had their brevet) who refused to accept that the future ending for je was "ai" they all insisted on "ais" By the way, that question was worth 2 points in the 2003 French brevet. Another 38 to go.....
  13. [quote user="KathyC"]As far as replacement teachers are concerned, having seen my husband working as a supply teacher (childminder in reality) in the UK, I would consider that many schools would be better off saving their money. It's also quite common nowadays for unqualified teaching assistants to cover for absent staff, with varying results.[/quote] In France, there is no replacement (supply ) teacher unless the actual teacher is signed off work for a longer period than 2 weeks. If they are absent for less time other teachers in the school are "encouraged" to cover for them, but they don't have to. If they are absent for more than 2 weeks, then the Inspection might be able to find a replacement teacher (if there is one available and if there is enough money- they once refused to find a maths teacher for a 6 month replacement because they did't have the money) There are two types of replacement teachers but for one of them the only criterium is to have a degree. Not to have any other qualifications or training. Thinking about being prepared for the system before you move: I've been here for 15 years and been a teacher for 14. I've taught in 8 different secondary schools (from collège to LGT and even LEP) plus a stint at the IUFM. I've got three kids at three different schools; And I'm still not sure I understand the system completely. I know that a lot of born and bred French people don't get it either. I see enough parents who are as lost (if not more so) as many people on the forum. About the uselessness (or not) of learning french grammar. I used to think that french people (teachers) were far to fussy about it. Until I realised that I was comparing it with what you need to write English correctly. In English, speaking the language well can be enough to be able to write it more or less correctly. In french this just isn't enough. BUT, I have tried and tried and I just can't see the point of some of the things they have to learn. I mean, knowing exactly what kind of subordinate a clause is or knowing the difference between an epithet or qualificatif adjective. Here's an extract from a French brevet paper (so for 14 year olds) I'm still not too sure what a connecteur temporel is.  a) Relevez du début du texte jusqu'à "Est-ce que j'aurais peur ?" et de "Et un singulier besoin" jusqu'à la fin les connecteurs temporels qui font progresser le récit.      b) Comment s'explique selon vous la présence de nombreux paragraphes ?      c) Caractérisez à l'aide d'un adjectif qualificatif le rythme ainsi créé.  I'm glad all I have to do is invigilate.   TU, good to see you back
  14. Thanks for the Martha Stewart link. That's going in my favourites. Don't forget DTLK either (less stylish maybe but so useful) http://www.dltk-kids.com/
  15. I've never had to wonder about this because I've never met any Brits who live in france I'm from Herfordshire by the way
  16. I only got the end because I didn't know they were going to show it; We've recorded le vieux fusil and les ripoux. Tonight there's coup de torchon on Fr2. I've never heard of that one.
  17. The first French film I saw at the cinema was ripoux contre ripoux, so I've always had a soft spot for him. Looking at the filmography, I had forgotten he was in so many classic films  like Uranus or que la fête commence (still haven't seen les milles) and it has to be said that  even if  some of the films weren't brilliant (thinking of la fille de d'artagnan) he was always good. He had one of those voices that you could have listened to even if he were reading the phone book. France 3 showed some sort of memorial programme last night, but we've been wondering what (if?) the French channels are going to show in his memory. I still want one of the first 2 ripoux (not the 3rd) but my husband wants Alexandre le Bienheureux
  18. [quote user="Miki"]  I have been spotted laughing out loud at Mr Brysons observations, [/quote] I won't read Bryson on public transport. (or while invigillating-bad memories) Thanks for the warning there's anew book out. I must have missed that somewhere
  19. Mistral


    I still use play becuase I find them cheaper and faster than amazon.uk. I sometimes use amazon.fr but play ususally has a better range and is still cheaper since france doesn't allow reductions beyond 5% on books. My other reason for not using amazon.fr is that I'd rather not have the American version of British written books (not an anti-American sentiment, just a question of vocabulary when reading to my kids) It would have been nice if play had thought to actually warn customers somewhere on their website about the paying in euros thing. At first I thought it was only for DVD's and was some sort of copyright thing, when I realised it was for everything, I panicked and sent an e-mail. I got a reply very quickly. I think it was the [email protected] address if that helps anyone. I hadn't really thought about it, but having to pay in euros means I don't have to pay commission here on my French bank account (this also means that all the time I was paying in pounds, I was paying commission unnecessarily- I just assumed that it was because it was a foreign account- stupid)
  20. I appreciated the slightly critical side and particulary his view on how french businesses are run (or not) I felt there was more than a grain of truth in that. On the other hand, chapter-loads about his (I'm assuming) imaginary love life was extremely uninteresting and the french women seemed very stereotyped to me.
  21. I think it's Cauet doing the voice. He is responsible for the Muppets being back on french TV. I watched one episode with child #2, but I'm not sure I'll bother another time. What I did find unsettling was that she put the telly on 20 minutes before (she gets a bit anxious about missing programmes) and said "oh it's les experts I'll watch the end of that" It turned out she had done that while staying with her grandparents. Maybe I'm an old fogey, but I'm not happy about a television chennel showing CSI in the middle of a sunday afternoon just before a children's programme. Especially since the children's programme has "Muppets experts" in it so they expect the kids to know what they are talking about. (nor am I happy about her grandparents letting her watch it, but that will have to go on to my long list of battles to fight)
  22. The legislation on BCG hasn't changed. It is still obligatory for school. A lot of doctors consider that the current vaccine isn't very effective so they don't want to give it. Unfortunately this means that some of them takes their wishes for fact and say that the law has changed or is going to change. Some refuse outright to do it. For the last 5 years or so I have heard people saying that the law is going to change and it will stop being obligatory, but it still hasn't happened. Some schools are less fussy about it that others (especially primaries/maternelles because the directrice's point of view comes into it a bit more) but the school doctor will nearly always insist on it. You can avoid it if you really want by finding a doctor who will write you a certificate saying that your child has a medical reason not to do it (if it doesn't take after 2 goes, you are exempted) Here'she link to the ministry site for primary inscriptions http://www.education.gouv.fr/cid37/inscription.html Collège inscriptions don't mention the BCG because it is assumed that kids have come through the primary sector
  23. [quote user="SaligoBay"] .   There's no way your average French person could hum the tune of Eastenders, nor could your average Brit do an impersonation of Dalida.[/quote] Same problem with trivial pursuit.Well, maybe not the impersonations but the general knowledge just isn't the same. Son and husband are both risk fans but it goes on for a long time (until world domination)
  24. I know my youngest (5) still believes. But she'll belive in anything if there is a present in it for her. the other two (12 and 9) have never mentioned it. The eldest sometimes gives me a knowing look when we go through the whole milk and cookies rigmarole (not mince pies I have a limited stock) Goodness knows what the middle one thinks, she's away with the fairies half the time any way. I've always liked the suggestion in one of the Libby Purves parenting books, to tell kids that he can only come as long as the child believes and once the child stops believing, then he can't come anymore and the parents keep up the present giving so that the child isn't disapointed. I won't be getting my christmas albums out until advent (christmas carol service in aix cathedral on the 3rd!)
{template="widgetContainer" group="global" app="core" params="'footer', 'horizontal'"https://www.frenchentree.com/}
  • Create New...