22 September 2007

Parent/Teacher Conference...French Style

SO YESTERDAY WAS the day when we got to sit down and talk with Patrick and Julia's teacher. I was quite concerned going in -- not because I was worried about what she would say about the kids, but because I don't speak French and she doesn't speak English. How was this going to work?

So it's Friday afternoon (by the way, who schedules a parent-teacher conference for 4:30 on a Friday afternoon?) and I make my way into the class. The teacher is incredibly nice and offers me a chair at a table in the back of the room. So far so good, thanks in large part to some obvious hand gestures and few elementary French words like bonjour, cava? and merci. As she begins to talk there are several things that are running through my head: 1) this is going better than I thought -- I think I actually understand some of the things she is saying, 2) it is clear that my ego is flaring up a bit because I am giving this teacher the impression that I understand far more than I actually do, 3) why was this meeting scheduled for 4:30 on a Friday afternoon?, 4) I am nodding my head and saying d'accord and oui a lot, even when I'm not sure what the teacher has just said -- this could be a problem, 5) why did I just say j'ai compris when, in truth, I didn't 'compris' at all?

After nearly 40 minutes, the meeting was over and it was actually kind of fun. The teacher could not have been nicer. She even answered a couple of questions that I asked in broken French and English. Things are going quite well for the kids -- thanks in large part to their French immersion school in the States -- and they are understanding everything the teacher is saying during the day and they are progressing well in this very new setting.

And now Kerri and I have a new goal: to be able to actually converse with the teacher in French at the next meeting in February. Wish us luck!


Penny said...

I'm getting used to important things being late in the day. We took the kids for shots and they were at 5pm - crazy!

I'm glad you made it through the conference ok. Its terrific that your kids are doing well - makes it a lot easier on the whole family I think. Bonne chance for your goal in February :). Are you doing any formal classes?

French for a While said...

Formal classes will begin soon. I realize that they are a must.