Sunday, November 25, 2007

My favourite waste of time

Like millions of others, I've discovered the joys of Facebook and am happily getting back in touch with old friends, exchanging adjectives and so on. But I've just joined a new group that tops the rest: Contre les cons qui restent immobiles à gauche sur l'escalator (Against the wankers who block the left hand side of the escalator).

If you've ever used the Paris metro, you'll have noticed that the convention is to stand on the right, thus allowing people in a hurry to pass you on the left. This nice, simple arrangement is routinely ignored by inconsiderate imbeciles who seem to think it their duty to slow everyone else down to their pace. They sometimes stand in pairs chatting or holding hands, which saves one of them the bother of actually having to turn round to talk to the other, blissfully unaware of the line of fellow travellers building up behind them. This blocking tactic is particularly effective at rush hour, when a sufficiently large backlog of passengers is created to ensure the left hand side stays blocked long after the selfish numpty has left.

No doubt someone will read these lines and think "typical Parisian, always in a hurry, slow down or you'll have a heart attack." My answer to that is
(a) It's my heart, not yours, so mind your own business.
(b) Forcing someone in a hurry to slow down is not going to lower their heart rate any time soon, and
(c) When I walk down a moving escalator, I don't make anyone else go at my pace, so what right do these thoughtless numbskulls have to force me to go at theirs? How undemocratic is that?

The one time in life to keep on the right is when you're on an escalator.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Teaching advice

As a stagiaire en situation, I still have to attend some teacher training even though I have a PGCE. So I'm off to IUFM for the next two weeks. I don't mind as it gives me the chance to learn about the more "official" things about the French system, and I get a fortnight away from the kids. Yaay!

The downside is having to cross Paris in the middle of the transport strikes, but since that means one crowded train every half hour or so, it's not actually that different from when I lived in Lewisham and had to ride Connex into Central London every morning.

Anyway, today I had the best advice I've ever heard from a trainer in 15 years:

You're not paid to tire yourself out, you're paid to tire the kids out.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This explains a lot

I reckon every group of kids must have at least one who thinks like this. And my subject begins with an "A".

Bloody do-gooders!

Today the kids all got a little bookmark about "the rights of the child". Here's a piece of it that I scanned.

Read it carefully. What's missing? That's right: Mes droits (my rights) is there, but there's no sign of mes devoirs (my responsibilities). I hate to sound like some Sarkoziste but honestly! (Actually, I think lefties like me should be more concerned about our responsibilities to others since we're supposed to be socialists, but that's another debate)

Now, I'm all for children's rights, and I understand that it's really intended to raise awareness of abuse issues, but this was just given out in the middle of a lesson, with no kind of discussion. I now eagerly await a dozen twelve year olds refusing to do homework or open their book because they have the "right to say NO". Or having to explain to them that the "right to play and dream" means "as opposed to being sent down a mine", and doesn't extend to the classroom.

They could have even just added "And everyone else has the same rights as me" at the bottom. That would have been a start.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Eastern promise

My inspiration has been running low lately - maybe teaching elementary English to 11 year olds blunts the old creative edge. So have another teacher blog instead.

All EFL teachers, especially the poor souls in the UK working for ten quid an hour in some dodgy cowboy school off Oxford Street, have considered moving to the Gulf to make a pot of cash, but few are brave enough to take the plunge. This guy has, and here's his blog about it. So now the rest of you get to find out if it's such a good idea.

Shut the f*ck up, ladies, please!

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Pedagogical games

I hate to say "When I were a lad...", but when I were a lad, teachers were still allowed to chuck chalk at you if you misbehaved. Now, thanks to this game on the Les Profs website, you can relive the good old days. Have fun!

Les Profs is a French comic strip about teachers (strangely enough), and I nicked my avatar from them.