School, school, and even more school

Every week day for the past two months I have had to go to school.  That’s right.  School, school, and even more school.

It’s very different from school in New Zealand.  You sit at singular desks, and the desks are positioned in rows of two at a desk.  Also, the kids are practically never focused.  They’re always talking quietly to one another while the teacher’s talking or, in the worst cases (which is quite often), they flick little paper balls all over the room with the elastic straps on the folders.  This is one big difference to school in New Zealand.

The hard part of going to school here is communicating with the other kids.  Especially when you understand a lot, but you don’t speak a lot.  Like when Monsieur Szymanski (the principal and the teacher of CM2 (my class)) was handing out flyers about a group of people who keep reptiles (deadly reptiles too) for showing to people, and they keep them in tiny little cages.  These were reptiles such as anacondas and crocodiles, turtles and tortoises.  Alligators and lizards.  I wanted to tell them not to go because it was an inhumane way to treat the animals, there was no animal welfare at all.  And by the way, the flyers described the way they keep the animals – they would be showing many signs of distress.  Personally, I would never go to something like that.  But of course, there was no way I could possibly tell them not to go.  All the other kids were doing “Oohs and Aahs”.  I could only hope it wasn’t suitable for them to go.

But, apart from that, there are many difficult aspects of life in another country.  You don’t know anyone, even if you’ve been there before.  (My mum’s an exception, she knows everyone in the whole world (sarcastic, but it feels like it).  Sometime you have to hang around in the corner of the school playground and watch everyone else having fun, while you yourself have nothing to do.

See original image

(Inside école Paulin Nicoleau)

5 thoughts on “School, school, and even more school

  1. margaret21

    Oh, Tomos, I’m sorry you’re not having fun. It WILL get better (I know a girl in Laroque who was in exactly your position, and she’s just fine now). And it’s not for too much longer, is it? The rest of your life, outside school seems pretty good and at least your family’s all together again: Good luck with the last few weeks of term

    1. Jennifer Andrewes

      You have a great strength of character Tom, for going every day, even though it presents challenges, and is tough, at times. One day, you will also remember all the fun stuff you have got to do too! Keep it up. 🙂

  2. Stephen Christie

    Tomos, I liked reading this. I know you are not enjoying school here very much, but you have stuck at it and there is not much longer to go now. (Well done!) But here’s what I liked about your description. 1. Your comparison with school back in NZ. I know you are going to continue to thrive at school back home, with your ‘growth mindset’. It will, by comparison with here, seem so easy and so liberating for you. 2. You recognise that you understand a lot of the French spoken in the classroom. 3. Animal welfare – yes! You stay true to your principles no matter where you are, who you are with, or what language it’s in.

  3. Susan Andrewes

    Tom, I absolutely love what you have written! What you are learning about this little patch of the world, and yourself, and other cultures, and other ways of thinking and doing things, and what you are capable of even when things feel challenging and unfamiliar is more than most adults will ever learn in a lifetime. Curiosity, an open mind, and a willingness to question your own assumptions and ways of doing things are the building blocks of a fulfilling, creative and successful life. Having continued to do what you are doing now for most of my life, I truly admire and respect your willingness to look beyond the discomfort, and learn. It can feel tough, but believe me, the perspective and insights you gain into other ways of thinking will take you far. Well done, Tom, and much love from us all. xx


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