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Summer In The City

Mad Summer

Summer usually brings the worse students, along with those too busy to take classes the rest of the year and whose only chance is to come to school when the Parliament isn’t in session. I don’t mind those ones. They’re usually focused on their studies because they’re desperate to pass their French test, which will entitle them to a promotion or a pay rise. But the weirdoes…


Some students are sent to French training only because no one wants them around at the office. Mentally unstable. Bossy. Slackers. Those who don’t give a damn about French and made it clear from day one. Those who are used to praise and can’t take criticisms—let alone basic grammar corrections. These are the ones we teach during the summer.


My Monday morning started off fine. I didn’t miss the bus and arrived early enough to grab a Coke and a muffin. I made my way to the classroom and met the school principal on the way. “Who are you teaching today? Oh… him?” I sensed something was up with the student I haven’t met yet but didn’t have time to inquire further. Oh well, we’ll see.


Once in the classroom, he looked normal enough. We started off with a general conversation, covering basic topics. The week-end, work etc. Two hours later, after we took a small break, I figured it was time to ask about his expectations so that we could make a plan for his upcoming exam, in September. I shouldn’t have said anything. He withdrawn and stared at the window for a couple of minutes. Then turned back to me: “you’re really pissing me off right now. Get out.”


And so I was kicked out of my own classroom. That’s the first time that ever happened to me, but why not? I went downstairs to see the principal. Turned out his majesty doesn’t like to cooperate with teachers much and would rather talk about himself non-stop. A study plan? Out of question! Lucky me, my boss usually takes us, the teachers, pretty seriously. I won’t work with him anymore and they gave him one last chance to behave (he was apparently kicked out of two schools already). None of my business anymore.


Yet, this month, I had to work with:


  • A hyperactive student: by the time I arrived in the classroom at 9am, he already had 3 cups of coffee on the table. He also had to go out at 10am, 11am and 12pm to… well, to get a refill, what else!


  • An emotional lady: I say something, she cries. I comfort her, she cries more. I test her, she cries. Very repetitive classes ahead but at least, she’s consistent.


  • A blackberry addict: 9:01, reply to an email. 9:02, started checking his emails. 9:03, answer the phone because one employee didn’t reply to his 9:01 email. When asked to put his crackberry away said it had to keep it because he didn’t have a watch and he needed to know the time.


  • The depressed: failed his exam 15 times, about to fail another 16th time. Not that he’s going to question himself anyway. It’s the teacher’s fault, the government’s fault and the FBI’s fault. I want to believe…


  • The dysfunctional class: 50% male and 50% female. 50% employees and 50% executives & directors. 50% making more than 100 000$/ year, 50% on short term contract and belonging to a staffing agency. Good luck, heated work arguments ahead.


In September, the usual students will be back. Sure, they will complain non-stop about the fact learning French is useless, that the exam isn’t fair and the examiners are biased. I can deal with that.


Meanwhile, I’m a psychologist with a teacher’s salary and without the Dr. benefits.


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