French school fun

Over Spring Break, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the French Trip with about seven other students and Madame. The trip included visits in Paris and the surrounding provinces, as well as a six day family stay. During the stay with my French family, I had the chance to visit a French school with my host. Despite having teachers, students, and classrooms, the school didn’t feel like a school at all. As I walked through the literal gates to the large building seemingly modeled after the Louvre with its small pyramid decorations, a security guard checked my host’s ID for entrance into the school. As looked through the halls, I noticed something odd. There weren’t any lockers lining the sides. I would come to find this as one of the many differences between French and American schools. The teachers didn’t have an established classroom. They alternated throughout the week, and even the day. Therefore, the classrooms walls were bare and lacking the motivational posters commonly found plastered to Ames High. There were, however, windows which allowed me to see the Eiffel tower far off in the distance. In the morning was math. A few students were denied entrance into the classroom because they arrived late. I wondered how that was a good idea; if they didn’t come to school on time obviously they would enjoy not having to come to math class. At around 10 AM, the students had about an hour for a break outside. This break consisted of smoking and talking, but mostly smoking. I was offered so many cigarettes on that trip. Honestly, though, it was pretty gross giving la bise with someone who just finished a home-rolled cigarette. Lunch was two hours! And my host always complained about not getting done with school until four or five o’clock, and now I understand why they got done so late. But probably the thing that shocked me the most was her lack of homework or studying. When I get home from school, that’s something I start and won’t get done until later at night. She barely had any work to do, and what she did have she usually got done within an hour. Overall it was a good experience to visit the school, but now I have grown to appreciate my days at Ames High.