Why don’t men ever listen? I had a solution. It may not have been elegant, but it was simple and quick. Instead, he decided to rebuild his laptop because the DVD wasn’t playing properly.

Yesterday I had my last lesson with Jean-Phillipe. Jean-Phillipe is one of my most frustrating students. Yes, he’s a nice guy, but he is on a book that’s too advanced for him and, no matter what I try, he never seems to progress (this probably says more about my teaching than about him, but I’m starting to think that some people just can’t learn languages).

As I didn’t have much inspiration for his last lesson, I asked if he could bring in a laptop and then we could watch some English TV episodes with French subtitles.

I arrived at the office 10mins early. 10mins later, reception managed to contact him and sent me up to the 8th floor. Our usual room was locked, so I took a seat near the elevator while I waited for him to arrive. After another 10mins Jean-Phillipe appeared, and hooked us up with a room 5mins later.

He set up the laptop and I started the DVD, praying that the subtitles would work. They did. The sound didn’t.

Jean-Phillipe unmated the computer. He turned up the volume on VLC. Nothing. He opened it in Windows Media Player – this time there was sound, but no picture. He tried RealPlayer and QuickTime – picture but no sound.

“Why don’t we just open VLC and Windows Media Player and play them at the same time?” I suggested – not brilliant, I know, but we were already over half-an-hour through the lesson.

Jean-Phillipe said nothing. He played with some more settings, opened and closed the file a couple of times, re-started the computer and tried it again. “I go to get a new disk,” he said.

“Why don’t we just play the two together?” I asked again.

“No, it’s at my desk,” he said. Five minutes later he came back with a new hard disk and switched it with the old one.

He started up again . . . it worked!

45mins through the lesson we got started – my way would have been much quicker.

After one and a half episodes of Chuck, Season 1, we finished the lesson. Having really enjoyed it, Jean-Phillipe asked if he could copy the files and return the disk to me in reception.

“My next class is in Val-de-Fontenay,” I said, “so I need to leave.”

“Do you have five minutes? I just go to my desk.”

“Okay,” I agreed.

15mins later, I was still waiting.

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