Vacation has started; Q&As have ended.

So, yesterday was my last day of work until a week from Monday. That’s good, and bad, because the French decided (I think) not to pay me today for the last three weeks, so I’m both glad I don’t have to work for another few weeks and annoyed that I won’t be able to straighten this out until vacation is over. To conclude my three weeks of semi-observation I’m going to make a list of weird, inexplicable, or hard-to-answer questions that French students like to ask me.

1) Do you like French food? Who on earth doesn’t like French food? The British? Or what?

2) What’s your favorite singer/actor? I don’t like famous people as much as I need to for this job. It took me several days to remember how much I like Jonny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean, and they became my stock answers. My stock answer for the singer question is the Beatles, which I know is boring, but I don’t think they know who Ryan Adams or Aimee Mann are, and I just can’t bring myself to say Madonna is my favorite just for their sakes.

3) What are your hobbies? This question is easy, because I answer that I like listening to and playing music on the violin and the piano. It’s hard, though, if they then follow it up with What are your interests/pastimes? Because I don’t have any others. I mean it. I don’t have hobbies. I don’t do interesting things. Please stop making it painfully obvious.

4) What do young people in Texas think of the death penalty? I don’t really mind explaining this, except that usually when someone asks a question this complicated, half of the class doesn’t understand the question, much less the answer. Also I tend to have really split opinions on things like this, and this particular question led me into explaining that Texas is conservative, and then I had to explain how, and then at the end of the whole topic I felt like I needed to say that regardless, Texans are really nice people whom I like a lot. And then I just felt like I was being condescending to the entire population of my home state.

5) Have you got any … I don’t really get this “have you got” thing. I know it’s British. But I remember being told when I was six that “got” wasn’t good English.

But anyway, the kids are great. My only complaint right now isn’t with the students, the teachers, or my neighbors, who are all great, it’s with the people at the rectorat who decided they just weren’t in the mood to pay me this month.


6 thoughts on “Vacation has started; Q&As have ended.

  1. your contact says:

    The rectorat may not have paid you because it is not the end of the month yet …Maybe next week …(the rectorat is welle known for being very slow when it deals with giving money to your bank account !!!)
    I did not know “have you got” is not proper English, now I know, thank you 🙂

  2. I wouldn’t say “have you got” is incorrect, it’s just not an American way of asking questions. And if it is just a question of the date I’ll be overjoyed if I do get my paycheck before November starts, but I’m skeptical. Third, and maybe most important, do I know you?

  3. your contact says:

    Well, yes, you know me 🙂
    I’ve discovered you had a blog when the other day, last monday if I remember well, I went to the internet room of the lyc?©e and, as I’m very lazy, I was looking if was already in the memory of the address bar (if this is the exact word) because I did not want to type it, and I found out eileen.likea frog …was in the memry bar and I know only ONE Eileen so, I’ve read it and enjoyed it. If you don’t want me to read you, if it disturbs you or something, just let me know, I won’t be bothered.
    I’m pretty sure you will be paid at the end of the month, as in france, everybody is paid at the end of the month or so, at least, we are paid per month and not per week.
    Enjoy your holidays in Lille which is a very beautiful city.
    A plus,

  4. Ohhhh. That makes so much sense! I have no problem with you reading my site! I was mystefied about the paycheck because the other assistant got hers today. But I can be patient. =) Bonnes vacances!

  5. Laurel says:

    For some reason this popped up in my reader so I re-read it. I just wanted to comment that I love how they thought “What are your interests/pastimes” was an appropriate followup question to “What are your hobbies.” Did you get similar cases of “What is your favorite food” followed by “What food do you like to eat the most”?

  6. Haha! Yeah, I fixed a grammar mistake on this post. After seeing the teacher side of things I was curious to go back and read my first experiences as an assistant, and saw a mistake to fix. And I totally get now why they would ask that question twice—“Oh hey, I know another word for that in English! I’ll ask that question!” My students say anything and everything for participation points.

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