12 October 2009

One Beats Zero. Every Time.

I JUST RETURNED from picking up Patrick and Julia from school and on the way home they told me about their day -- one event in particular -- and it made me so proud of them.

This year, for the first time, their class has the opportunity to select the délégué de classe which is basically two students who will officially represent their class in various ways: at conseils, at meetings with the administrations, when students have problems, etc. The French take this 'honor' very seriously starting in about 6th grade, so this year is kind of dry-run for the real thing that will take place next year.

So this afternoon each student was asked to write down their ideas for what they would want to focus on as délégué de classe. After each idea was read allowed the class voted to narrow the list down to 4 finalists -- and it was expressly stated that you could, in you wanted, vote for yourself. So Patrick was explaining this to me in the car and Julia was chiming in with the details that he was missing and they were getting quite excited about the whole thing. They explained who got the most votes (Xavier) and what some of the ideas were. Then Patrick revealed to me that he, in the end, decided to vote for himself. 'That's great,' I said. 'If you have the best ideas you should vote for yourself. How many votes did you get?'

'One!', he said, with a small smile on his face.

'What about you, Julia?' I asked.

'I got one vote, too. And I voted for myself!'

What a couple of losers, eh?

But the part that made me the proud father comes next. After detailing their losing bids for this early political honor, they started telling me the ideas of the students who made the finals. One involved more field trips to the pool; another involved having candy available in the rooms at all times. 'They just voted for all the stupid ideas,' Patrick lamented. When I asked what he had suggested he told me his plan was to have monitors assigned to make sure the bathrooms were clean every day because they are a mess (pee on the floor, tissue everywhere, horrible stench).

What a fantastic idea!

Julia's was equally good -- her plan involved having the good academic students tutor the kids who are struggling a couple of days a week.

But alas, when it comes to 10-year olds these kinds of ideas lose-out to '20 more minutes of recess every day.' As we were getting out of the car the kids told me that they thought that some of the students were just giving ideas that they knew people would vote for rather than ideas that would actually help. Most of the ideas, they said, could never really happen.

Is it possible they completely understand the realities of politics already?

3 comments :

poppy fields said...

Good for them. Emma (6ème) made it to the second round but got beat out by a couple of boys...

Akinoluna - a female Marine said...

Sure sounds like they do!

Anonymous said...

True understanding will be when they ask you why you want to work in politics.