I love french, it sounds so nice. Last year I would get excited to have french lesson, but this year…oh dear.
But this year we have a new teacher and we will continue to have her teach us for the next 2 years. Now, she’s quite strict which is fine, I don’t mind that. But you have to know that many German students don’t really like french, because they won’t need it anyway and so they see it as a waste of time (most of them, that is, not all of course). And the disliking of the language has a lot to do with the teacher too. You have a bad teacher, you’re a bad student, you don’t like it.
So for the past few years french teachers have tried to animate students by doing a lot of speaking, reading and some grammar too. All fine. But they weren’t too strict about the pronunciation.
Many say the full prennent with ils prennent, though you’re supposed to keep the -ent silent. This one and many other mistakes are sometimes corrected, mostly ignored by the teachers.
But our new teacher is very particular about pronunciation. She claims she can’t understand us if we don’t speak properly (I think she can, it’s all a nasty trick). I don’t make many pronunciation mistakes because I learned most of my french in Switzerland, but the poor poor souls who might be better at physics…the poor things. They will be forced to sit there until they’ve translated every word of a french text and have pronounced every single world correctly. (It won’t work if you just say what the whole thing is about, you have to translate every word separately)
I always feel very sorry for my co-students being unwillingly put in the spotlight with all the mistakes they make. And one thing I have learnt is to never give anything in.
One time we had to write a dialogue between 3 children about a strict education. I read mine in class and she said it was very good, if I wanted to hand it in so she could copy it for the others?
With a “okay…” I gave it in.
The next lesson she had copied for everyone, gave it to everyone and said: “So, here’s the dialogue from last time. Now, she made some mistakes, we’ll go through them separately.” And that’s what we did. We went through every sentence and with every mistake she went: “So, here’s where she made a mistake, you’re not supposed to write it like that, no.” And she had scribbled around on my neat sheet of paper before she copied and distributed it, so so much for that effort.
Anyway I felt really humiliated. It’s not like everyone was looking at me going: “How could you make these unforgivable mistakes? You’re a complete idiot.” They looked more sorrowful actually. But still I almost felt like I had to cry by the end of it. And I was angry. Of course I would make mistakes, I knew that. And it wouldn’t have been so bad if she’s corrected them (nicely) and then just told me. But not the whole class – and each and every one of them.
This incident is a while ago, but I was reminded of her public humiliations because she always lets people read their homework and then points out everything they did wrong – not right – wrong. Today especially a girl was grinding her way through a self-written text, trying to pronounce everything correctly – the teacher controlling from behind.
That must have felt great! What a fantastic way to motivate people!