I am on gossip overload from yesterday through today. How ironic!
The remplacant from a couple of weeks ago who had the problem with the students? Apparently he is now in a mental hospital. He went home that night and had a total mental breakdown in front of his kids and is now in the hospital. According to the woman who told me this, he'd been ill for a while and had a lot of other stressors in his life and he needs some time to figure things out and relax. I feel so bad for him, what an unfortunate situation. And I think one of his kids is in one of my classes. Can you imagine? When I see him again I'm going to be extra nice to him.
At one of my schools I ride the bus with a ton of the students. In France they don't have school buses, so the kids ride city buses or charter buses to get to their schools. Weird, huh? I actually enjoy riding the bus with them, they all clamor to sit next to me and ask me questions, it's very gratifying. Anyway, while we're waiting for the bus today one of my CM2 girls, B, tells me she has a petit copain (boyfriend) in the class and wants me to guess who it is. I finally do, it's M. Then B says that M has hit her a few times, and she points to her sternum and eye. So I of course go into the speech my mother has given me 20 million times, that violence is wrong, that someone who hits you doesn't really like you, and that if it happens again she should tell her mother. Clearly I cannot just leave the situation at that, I have to do more. What I find almost more disturbing than the fact that one of my ten year old students is in a domestic violence situation is that abusers have typically been abused themselves, so I'm worried that M isn't in a safe home situation. I asked one of the teachers at one of my other schools what I should do zith this information and she said to tell the maitresse (teacher) so that she can handle it. I think I'm going to both the directeur (principal) and the maitresse about this. What I'm not sure about is how to tell B that I have to go to the other teachers with this. I don't want to loose her trust and I don't want her to feel betrayed. On the other hand, she did say this while there were other students around, so I don't know how much of a secret this is. I think the best approach is to tell her in private that I'm really glad she feels she can trust me with this information but that I can't just let it stay our secret because M might be in danger too, and because it's very wrong for someone to behave that way towards their significant other. Anyone else have any thoughts? I went through crisis hotline training, so I feel like I can handle this, but I would be happy to have other input.
My other drama today was with, you guessed it, my monster class. They were chatty and not paying attention, comme d'habitude, and I am quite annoyed by 4:20 (ten minutes to go) that despite all of my best efforts this is continuing to be a problem. It was mostly the CM1, the CE2 were actually pretty good today. Then all of a sudden one of the kids is under his desk crying, another kid tells me that some girls had said gros mots (bad words) to him, and they were shoving their desks into him now. So his sister goes over to see if he's alright, then one of the other kids pushes his desk into her head. She's hysterical, and it looks like the brother and the other kid are going to have a fist fight right in the middle of class. So I restort to screaming in English at them to break it up, send two girls to find the new remplacant (who had left me with the kids) and start giving them a lecture on being nice to each other. The remplacant comes in, has me explain what happened, and then offers her solution, which I thought was genius: she made the kid who shoved his desk into the sister's head kiss both the sister and the brother. I really liked that actually. Then she tells the class that they have to appologize to me, which they did, and she asked if I accepted their apology. I said that quite frankly, I see no reason to continue to teach English with them since they obviously don't appreciate it. Uh oh, maybe spoke a little too soon. That was a pretty big threat to use, and I don't really mean it. There are some kids that I never want in my classroom again, that is certain, but I don't want to throw in the towel with the whole class. So now I feel like I'm a little stuck. Their teacher (who is also the directeur) is coming back from leave tomorrow and he will be told about all of this. I am going to look so awesome in his book, I completely lost control of the class twice in the space of a week. But there are definitely some things that need to change with that class if I am going to continue to teach them. First of all, I need to be able to make a new seating chart. It is ridiculous that he has all of the problem kids sitting with each other to create more problems. I'm also going to tell him that this every other day thing is crap and that the kids aren't learning anything. And that I don't see myself taking all 28 or 29 insane children all at the same time ever again. They have to be divided in two, it's too much to supervise otherwise. I feel like I should go to the school tomorrow (I don't work on Fridays) to explain the situation to him, but it can probably wait until Tuesday, or Monday morning when I'm at the other elementary school in town.
On a happier note, my vacation travel plans are really coming together! I have all of my plane tickets booked and half the hotels. I'll be in Prague with my friend J (who is also an English teacher, but with business English and preschoolers) the 8-11, then it's off to Rome, leave Rome the evening of the 14th for Florence, get back to Rome the 17th for a flight to Greece, and Greece until the 24th. I'm really looking forward to this trip,it will be my first time outside of the US, Canada, and France!
I really need to get lesson plans done for next week, but it's so tempting to just go watch a movie and make some nachos.