See Ya Later, Alligator

Today was my last day at my difficult school. I was not expecting to really be sad at all, because let’s be honest, this school was really difficult, but I cannot tell a lie (that’s a lie) and must admit that I did feel a slight tug on my heartstrings as I left the building (that was probably more due to the nice teachers than the students). I am quite honestly shocked that I made it through my entire contract in one piece, and without a single tear shed. It certainly was difficult, though, much more so at this school than at the other one. Here are some of the things I survived:

– A student asking me on my first day if I had a chatte, thinking that I didn’t know the difference between chat and chatte (spoiler alert: I do know the difference)

– A student exploding in my face, screaming that I was racist and causing me to be scared for my physical safety (the student was Caucasian and believed I was giving preferential treatment to the Muslim students in the class)

– Students talking about me behind my back in French, thinking I could not understand them

– Students telling me to my face that they did not care to pay attention in my classes, no matter what I did or said

– Students intentionally misbehaving, thinking I was not aware of school rules (spoiler alert: I was aware of school rules)

– Students asking me if I was sexually active

– Being sent a particularly disobedient group of students week after week, even after having told the teacher I did not feel comfortable alone with them

– Faculty members approaching me voluntarily and advising me against pursuing teaching as a career

– An unparalleled and, quite frankly, appalling lack of respect (on the part of the students, not the  teachers) for me, my language and culture, and the subject matter I was attempting to teach

Needless to say, I am more than relieved to be finished with this school. If anything, it was at least quite a learning experience. I learned how to handle myself in a situation that is beyond my control, how to (attempt to) take control of a large group, and how to communicate thoughts and ideas to people who do not speak my language, among many other things. I also realized how lucky I was to be raised where I was by parents who value education and respect for others, and how incredibly important those are. I saw students influenced by their friends to care less about their education, and many parents here (certainly not all) don’t care. It’s extremely sad, and something I won’t ever let happen to any child of mine.

Now, on to more positive things: I’ve got another two-week vacation ahead of me! I swear, they’ve got so much vacation here. It’ll be hard readjusting to the American vacation schedule. I’m going to Amsterdam for a day on Monday, and then during the second week of vacation Sarah and I are headed to Dublin, Ireland. I am so excited for this vacation; Amsterdam and Dublin are two places that have been at the top of my list for a while. After vacation, I’ve got one day of work left at the school I like (and on Tuesdays I have my favorite students), and then it’s back to America on May 14th. Things are moving fast. I’m realizing now that I really need to start tying up loose ends, and that this next month is going to fly by.

But for now, I’m on vacation!

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