Monday, September 21, 2009

Back to School

Here it is, my fiftieth year of life and I find myself sitting in a classroom with 9 year olds. The teacher is, possibly, the same age as my eldest daughter and the students have grandparents, possibly, the same age as me. I am here to learn French but I think I'm about to learn more than that.
As I listened to the teacher introduce me, I winked at curious children and gave silent thanks that my rear fit in the chair. My neon green notebook looked awesome on my worn wooden desk. My denim jacket is suitable fashion and my ponytail is just the perfect 'do. I feel as though I am fitting in (pun intended) and the stomach butterflies are calming down a bit.
The teacher takes roll call and announces who has what task for the week. The student assigned to the poubelle (garbage) moans just enough to be heard but not so much for a reprimand. I'm ready to say, ''I'll do it!'' but think I better stay quiet at least during my first day.
The word of the day, saugrenu, is given. The students guess at the definition. I have now moved from silent thanks to silent prayer: ''please don't call on me, please don't call on me, please don't call on me...'' Why didn't I bring a dictionary?!
Next up is a slice of English. A student walks to the front of the room and speaks slowly, carefully, ''Today is Monday. Yesterday was Sunday. Tomorrow is Tuesday.'' I want to shout Bravo! But I bite my tongue instead. That's it for English. My comfort zone is now over. (and my tongue hurts)
And then the lessons begin. I give silent thanks for erasers. I am making loads of errors and the pile of eraser bits is getting obvious on my desk. I'm sure the student in charge of desk cleaning this week is glaring at me.
While some of us worked on conjugating verbs, some played computer games and some took timed math quizzes. I was in the some conjugating verbs. The computer looked more fun and I wrote note to self: how do you get to play on computer and find out how to avoid math quizzes.
I will attend this class Monday through Friday, 9:00 - 10:45 am. I will learn French. I will learn what happens at age 50 when the hands of time are turned back...