13 September 2010

New Schedule

NOT FOR ME -- my schedule this year is exactly the same as last year. But the twins have radically new schedules and are experiencing their first year in collège -- the French equivalent of middle school. This means, of course, that Patrick and Julia now attend the school where I teach and they are now mixed with about 1500 other students in an international school that features students in English, Spanish, Italian, German, and Russian programs. It's quite a change from last year when most of their classes were in the same room. Now they have classes sprawled-out all over the large CIV campus in Valbonne. And if you've ever wondered what kind of schedule a 6th grader in France has, here's a hint: long days. Most days start at 8:00 and end at 5:00 with a break for lunch in the middle. A quick sample (note: English means general literature, etc. -- not English as a second language):
  • MONDAY: Hist/Geo in French (2 hrs); French (1 hr); Music (1 hr); English (2 hrs).
  • TUESDAY: French (2 hrs); English (1 hr); Education Physique (2 hrs)
  • WEDNESDAY: Math (2 hrs) -- done with school at 10:00!
  • THURSDAY: English (2 hrs); Hist/Geo in English (2 hrs); SVT - Science (1 hr); Education Physique (2 hrs)
  • FRIDAY: SVT - Science (1 hr); French (1 hr); Math (1 hr); French (again for 1 hr); Math (again for 1 hr); Art/Art History (1 hr); Theater (1 hr);
Friday is a pretty long day. It's almost like cruel and unusual punishment to make kids have math and French twice in one day -- and not back to back. Torture I tell you.

But the kids are adapting well. They eat in the cafeteria three times per week and one day each week they eat with me. Today we went up to the square just near the school and ate at my favorite little spot - Le Petit Cafe. But by far the best part about having them at the same school as me is that every once in a while I get a glimpse of them from across the campus and we share a little wave (or, in Patrick's case, a cool head nod). Those are great moments.

So far so good -- but with the added work and the extra hours, things could get tougher in the weeks ahead. On verra!

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