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Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

06 October 2011

Old People On Campus: Je Ne Comprends Pas

So I'm taking a beginning French course, entirely for my own entertainment. I see snippets of French in books and whatnot, and for ages I've wanted to know how to pronounce all those words. To that end, I enrolled in French this semester.

French Teacher is actually from France, which is nice, since I'm reasonably confident that he knows what he's talking about. In fact, he's such a good teacher, I feel really guilty that 1) I'm really an awful French student, and 2) I mangle his language every time I try to speak it.

This is what I'm like in French class.
I sit there and stare. With my
mouth open. Source.
We often do group work to practise speaking with one another, and lately he's been hovering near me and my usual partner, Louisiana (so named because she used to live there). Yesterday, Louisiana decided that he must be hovering because we do a lot of giggling when we're meant to be practising French, so she told him, "You need a tape recorder back here. She (meaning me) is so funny! The other day she said that she feels bad that she's bad at French because you're such a good teacher. (And it was at this point that my face went all red.) And yesterday, she said this would be much easier if she spoke French!"

It's true, I did say both of those things, but I didn't actually intend for French Teacher to hear it. Louisiana explained later that she wanted him to know we weren't goofing off. When I told Chad about it, he said French Teacher may be hovering because he knows the two of us need help. Really, it could go either way. I do know that our TA has started hovering, too, because one of us always has a question during group work.

To French Teacher's credit, he lied through his teeth and said that I'm not doing bad. Nice guy.

Do you speak French? Do you ever feel guilty about being a poor reflection on a teacher/boss/whoever? What's your theory on why French Teacher is hovering?


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I took four years of French in high school and never felt comfortable speaking it like my high school daughter does now.
Teacher is probably hovering because of the giggles.

Anonymous said...

I picked up a word or two from Sesame Street...does that count?

Liz said...

You're not doing bad if you're trying. You're probably doing better than you think.

I took French in high school, but I wouldn't say I speak it. I know how things are supposed to be pronounced, but I can't quite get there.

Languages are easier for some people than for others. And younger people are better at picking up languages (by younger, I'm talking about babies) because their brains are still forming.

Su said...

@Susan: I think it's probably the giggles, too, although it is handy to have him nearby since we always have questions! ;) It may also get on his nerves that the two oldest people in the class are the ones raising most of the ruckus.

@Delores: Absolutely.

@Liz: That's what they keep telling us in linguistics, too. Sigh. If the class were slightly slower paced I might be doing better. As it is, I don't really have enough time to absorb things!

Deniz Bevan said...

I'll bet lui is hovering because you guys are plus entertaining que les autres edutiantes. I'm from Montreal - we take French classes all throughout school if we're in an English school - otherwise, we can got to French school.
And here I am trying to learn Espanol...

Jenny said...

I want to learn French so badly!!!! I have internet pages bookmarked and Learn French CDs and I'm always watching my favorite movies on the French audio track so I can get used to hearing it. (Movies set IN France, like 3 Musketeers is great!)

Sadly, I have ADD and about a million things going on, so I am learning like, 2 vocab words a month! lol

But I do want to actually take a class some day.

Eldest child is taking French in middle school and we have a deal that if he keeps top marks and is fluent by the time high school graduation rolls around (5 years) that he and I will take a trip to Paris together.

I had better get busy. LOL

Mia Hayson said...

I'm a TA in a psych class now and I do that hovering thing too. GUILTY AS CHARGED. I can only guess you're right and he, like me, just sees you might need help.

I get so, I don't know, kind of invested in the students that I don't want them to feel lost or like they can't ask for help.

So! I guess he's just a nice guy.


....Petty Witter said...

How I disliked my French teacher, also an actual French man, who also seemed to delight in hovering over those students who weren't doing too well (myself included). My parents claimed he was just making himself available to help should we need it but it just made me nervous and put me off wanting to learn.

Bob Sanchez said...

I took three years of high school French and learned reading and writing but not speaking and listening. Sure, it reflected on the teacher.

Su said...

@Deniz: I'm totally chuffed that I understood that sentence! Oui, nous sommes plus entertaining! :)

@Jenny: I bet 5 years is plenty of time to get conversational.

@Mia: I'm sure that a year from now I'll be doing the same when I'm a TA.

@Petty: It does make me nervous, although I'm getting used to him.

@Bob: That seems really strange-- I've always thought that the speaking/listening bits came before the reading/writing bits. But I could be totally crazy. Our teacher is certainly emphasizing all of them!

Karen Peterson said...

Oui, je parle fran├žais!

My guess is that the teacher was hovering for reasons somewhere in the middle. He probably thought you were goofing around because you needed help.

Su said...

And that's not too far off from the truth! Today, the instructor and the TA more or less parked themselves behind us... but I think I encourage them to stay there when I ask a question every 5 seconds. ;) We are giggling at our own pathetic attempts to speak French, but hey, that means we do need a lot of help.