I wrote down a lot of remarks they made, because I thought they revealed so much about the U.S., not in spite of—but because of—the fact that it was being seen from the outside. So here’s a brief overview…
Colombani spoke first and essentially said that he sees Obama as the only choice for Americans, that there will be—from an international point of view—a “before the election of Obama” and an “after the election of Obama” (like two different epochs), and that he seems to be the incarnation of the American Dream.
Ted Stanger began more of the comparative discussion between the
We talked about the difference between the 6-month campaigns in
Let’s see…what other interesting things have happened this week…
I have continued my observations at the high school, and am teaching my first English lesson next week. I continue to enjoy my literature courses with Sophie, and I have also started observing English language courses with Lek Sang. She has a very different style of teaching, but it has been valuable to learn from nonetheless. She moves at an incredibly rapid pace, and students are repeating, essentially nonstop, what others have said. It’s not always the most natural way of speaking, but it keeps everyone engaged and on their toes, and everyone’s voice is heard in some sense—which is important in the language classroom. Students in Europe learn British English, so I feel a little awkward about my pronunciation sometimes, and occasionally I encounter some vocabulary that doesn’t exist in the
Again, I am teaching my first lesson in her class on Wednesday. Something I love about French education is their emphasis on “authentic documents.” Whereas American classes rely on textbooks—which are thorough, but are someone else’s interpretation of the information—they work from real documents and put together the information for themselves. The English language book, for instance, is filled with excerpts from British/American novels, news articles, advertisements, short stories, memoirs, etc. I am going to teach an excerpt from a John Jakes novel called American Dreams.
As well as observing courses, I have also been taking education courses at the IUFM with other first-year teachers. Where we have our student teaching programs in the
Friday night was fantastic—I hung out with Vanessa, Marky (another American in our group), and a few French teachers who did the other half of this exchange, and taught in Ohio last year! We had wine and cheese, alternated between speaking in English and speaking in French, and had lots of interesting cultural discussions. They loved their time in the
Saturday morning I observed class (yes, high schools have class on Saturday mornings), which was cool. Jean-Pierre (host father from
Speaking of art, I went to a display-type event in
Yesterday was also a really interesting day. Vanessa and I went to the well-known market in
Vanessa and I came back and made a delicious lunch with our purchases, and then headed over to the Basilique (Basilica).
Speaking of religious history, we have about 10 days off starting this coming Saturday—and Vanessa and I are going on a pilgrimage in