Au Revoir Insanity!

Often, some of the biggest cultural shocks come when you look into a country's educational system. Every country has their own way of doing things, and people in general have pretty strong opinions about how children should be dealt with. Something that might be completely acceptable to you might be considered child abuse to someone from another culture, and visa-versa.

For the last 7 months, I've been an English Teaching Assistant in France. I'm sad that I'll be unemployed while waiting for my Carte de Sejour (green card) to finally come in, but I'm not one bit sad to be moving on. This teaching program is really a hit or miss. Some people get placed in great schools, with great teachers and great students. They have great experiences. Some people get placed with crazies.

Don't get me wrong. I worked with a couple of great teachers and all of my students were awesome. Check out this awesome going away card they made me! But I also worked a with a few special teachers.

Thank You Card
The lady in the middle yelling at them to study irregular verbs is their regular teacher.

In France, teachers can't be fired, at all. They are guaranteed a job for life, even if you refuse to teach for an entire year and cuss out all the little 11 year olds in your class on a daily basis (true story). If you're really horrible, they just send you to work in the school district office building. Your pay isn't even lowered.

I know that my opinion doesn't actually count for anything here, but I think they would be wise to revise that policy.

My First Day At School B 

Me: So, the kids at this school seem pretty nice.

Madame Crazy: Yeah. They seem that way, but you never know nowadays.

Me: I guess. For the most part they're pretty calm though, right?

Mme Crazy: Sure. But you never know when someone's just going to go crazy and kill everyone. (Her eyes get all big and she starts raising her voice.) There are NO signs. You and I, could just go CRAZY tomorrow and come in and KILL everyone.

Me:   .:Awkward Silence:.     Umm... I couldn't.

How the heck do you respond to that?

I tried to ask around and find out where I could report her, with no luck. Am I the only one who thinks she sounds dangerous? When I told the other teachers, they would say, "Oh, she's just like that," or "No. If you try to turn her in it won't work, and it will just anger her. She's made assistants in the past cry." Nice lady, right?

French High School Seating Arrangement
This is the classroom where I taught in one of the schools. I loved when it was empty...

Anyone else experience a bit of culture shock when they came to a school in a new country. Everyone's system is just so different! What would you do if you had to work with a teacher like that? 


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