Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day in the Life of a French Student

Wow, I can't believe it has been over a month!!! I am very happy here, even though the weather is very different from California. My host family and friends make fun of me because I so cold all the time, wearing a scarf, two sweaters and a coat, while they are in a T-shirt and shorts.

 Anyways, I figure, now that I am used to going to school in France, I might as well explain what classes are like, how long the day is, students habits, etc.

 My school is: Lycèe Camille Pissarro, Pontiose. Which is cool because Pissarro is a famous  french impressionist who lived in the late 19th century and in none other than Pontoise! And even painted pictures of the very same street I live on.
 Chemin du chou, or lane of cabbage! ( like everything else, it sounds so much better in french!)
La Causette, chemin du Chou à Pontoise (C Pissarro - PRDS 358)
-chemin du chou à Pontoise ( C. Pissarro)

Anyways, school is every week, Mondays through Saturdays. But it is unusual that there are classes on Saturdays. Usually in France the school week is just Monday through Friday.
Every day I take the bus to school at either 8am or 9am. three out of six days a week class starts at 9:30 instead of 8:30. And school is over every day at 16:30 (or 4:30) except Wednesdays and Saturdays, when class is over at 12:30.

There are three different "high school" grades: second, prèmire, and terminal. usually I would be in either terminal or prèmire, but since I have no previous french experience, the lycèe required that I enter second.
which is good because everyone is already new to "high school" so I fit right in. .....well, you know, aside from not being able to speak the same language as them....

Ok, here comes the complex part of french school....
There are three building with six different levels and about 10 classrooms on each level. The first day, the students are separated into classes of about 30 students, which will be taking similar classes, in my case Spanish, English, European classes(advanced English courses, such as history in English), then you are given a time chart which is the same for all the students in your class. Then your homeroom teacher tells you which classes you are taking and which groups you are in for some of the courses, such as Spanish, in which the class is separated into two groups. all orally. so I was definitely confused the first day.
What's more there are two separate weeks (week A and week B) in which there are classes one week and not the other. And the teachers never stay in the same room, so sometimes if your teacher doesn't show up then you have random free time.

Now for the student habits.
In France the students are very polite: you never enter the classroom until the teacher says so. You wait for the teacher to tell you you can sit down. If you are late or went to the bathroom and return, you must knock on the door and wait for the teacher to answer, then wait outside the doorway and explain yourself, for the interruption, and sometimes, if your really late like-five minutes then the teacher will not allow you back into the classroom.
Every student has a little pencil case with a pencil, pen, white out, an eraser, five different colored pens, a ruler, a glue stick, and some colored pencils. also every student has a little planner where they write their assignments, a folder where they can put any loose papers the teacher gives, and a copy book or binder, for each class.
Never would a french student be caught dead unprepared for a class. It was actually a little intimidating at first. but once you get used to the extreme organisation, it's easy to catch on.

I am taking :
french-super advanced and very confusing.

sport-so far, weight lifting...very different than California P.E.

history and geography- very boring, I know what is going on, but my teacher is just very hard to listen to.

math- super complicated, I have no clue what we are doing....maybe calculus, my only comfort is that no one else in my class understands it either.

economics-actually I can understand a lot of this course. yay!

Spanish- actually on of my favorite classes.

English-I am learning how to speak, properly.

European English- a little different than my other English class, a little more advanced and focuses on England.
European history-In English! so much fun! I have some really cool friends in that class. but now my teacher is making me do the projects in french, which is good, but hard.

life and earth science, so basically biology- only once a week and actually kind of fun, mainly because since I have taken the course before, I can track what we are talking about.

chemistry- Thank you Mr. Auld! I can really understand this course once all the long and confusing terms are translated. I have actually helped some of my classmates. it's cool because we do a lab every week, and we have to buy and wear our own lab coats. very cool.

In France we have a lot of vacation, two weeks of vacation, about every seven weeks of school.

well that's about it for now.

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