Diaries Magazine

Back to School.

Posted on the 05 September 2013 by Ellacoquine @ellacoquine

back to school.
 Image via my Instagram I know we still have a few more weeks left of it, but for me, summer is officially over. My birthday which was on the 2nd arrived in all its glory, and with it now over means that the party is over...well, my party at least. 
With la rentrée in full swing here in Paris, I have to admit, I'm actually looking forward to this new year. Does anyone else feel like September is more of a fresh start than January 1st? Early January, I just feel depressed, cold, and bloated as I reluctantly take down signs of Christmas glee while detoxing my system of all the champagne and fois gras I had woofed down for the past two months. September feels like a true awakening where the weather is still gorgeous, everyone is adorning their summer glow with vacation tales to recount, and there is a feeling of motivation and productivity as perhaps we're all just a bit vacationed out. 
This year, the infamous no-school Wednesdays here in France are no more. The school system in Ile-de-France is now requiring students to attend a half-day reserving the afternoon for extra curricular activities. With this new schedule, naturally, there was a public outcry as students have always had Wednesdays off and as we know, the French don't love change. 
Last year I had networked with the parents that I had met outside of school and the after-school sports center and managed to create an intensive English study workshop facilitated by myself. Working with multiple families means multiple students whom I learned last week were going to be all teen-age boys. This will be the second year that I am working exclusively with garçons. Being the only girl in my family, growing up with four boy cousins and two brothers, I suppose this is one of the roles I have been preparing for most of my life. Yesterday was our first session, or as I irritatingly labeled it: "The English Speaking Round Table". Yes, I totally made them say it. Like a few times.  At first they didn't realize that I speak as well as understand French, but I let them think they were pulling the wool over my eyes by whispering profanities to each other in French while I was organizing my notes and writing on the wipey board. It wasn't until one of the kids began to repeatedly say "double penetration" that I had to figure out a way to put an end to les bêtises.  Double penetration? First of all, there goes my Google keywords (and they have been so clean lately). Second, ouch. And third, what about it? Why did he have to keep saying it? I resisted the overbearing urge I had to ask him if he even knew what he was talking about, but thought better in fear that he did and was going to provide an explanation. However, it couldn't go ignored as he continued to say it, grating on my every nerve. Having somewhat of a knowledge of young French boys, I do know that they are concerned with appearances and instead of being stern with him, I got all French with him. By simply nodding my head, scrunching my face up as if I was dismissing an ugly article of clothing, and saying that it wasn't beau when he said that, I got him to stop putting physically uncomfortable images in my head and continued on with the lesson. 
Before wrapping up the day and to refine myself as a human, not a robot barking at them in English, I shared that it was recently my birthday. Immediately I was asked how many years I had. Knowing that 14 year old kids would think 32 is ancient (heck, 22 year olds do!) and wanting to avoid the look of horror that generally accompanies it, I told them that I wasn't going to disclose how many years I was and that I had a very nice time with my husband (which also inspired giggles). With the incessant emphasis I placed on being an age and not having an age like we do in the romance languages, I reminded myself of a character in one of David Sedaris' essays; the one where he was placed in a speech therapy class when he was younger and his tutor pretty much sucked. Well, I'm that teacher in the story and by the way some of these kids were looking at me I see a story written about me in the future because damn, I'm annoying. I look forward to reading it, and if it's in English, I hope I will have done my job. 
It's good to be back. Something tells me this year is going to be even more interesting than the last.... 

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