Outside the classroom

Although I really enjoy teaching, some of my favourite moments in this job are the ones that happen outside of the classroom.

Take Wednesdays at Noisy –

A few weeks ago I was waiting for the elevator with Joelle, who I teach at 9:30-11:00. When the elevator doors opened, one of Joelle’s colleagues was inside and the two women started talking.

The other woman nodded at me and Joelle said, “c’est ma prof d’anglais – elle ne parle pas le français.

I smiled and said, “en fait, je peux parler le français, mais je ne le parle pas avec Joelle parce que ceci serait mauvais pour son anglais.

The look on Joelle’s face was priceless. I must admit that it’s fun to show off when the opportunity presents itself.

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On another Wednesday, also a few weeks ago, I was waiting for the elevator with Loïc, who I teach at 3:00-4:30. When the doors opened, one of his friends was waiting.

Bonjour,” he greeted.

“This is my English teacher,” Loïc introduced me in French.

“Really?” his friend raised his brows, “très bien.”

I smiled, pretending that I didn’t understand as they chatted. When we left at the next floor, the friend came too, telling us that he was following us.

“Not to the lesson,” Loïc said, “we need to work.”

“I don’t think you would do a lot of grammar,” the friend grinned before we retreated into the meeting room.

This has happened to me a couple of times – the week before, Xavier (one of my Société Générale students) and I bumped into his boss. When Xavier explained that he had English class, the boss commented that Xavier was very lucky and asked if he could join us.

The week before that, Muriel (from Flammarion) and I saw her boss, who looked me up and down and said that he thought he needed English lessons.

I should compare notes with the other female teachers to see if this is normal. Either way, it’s very flattering!

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But back to my Wednesdays – last week I went to Denise, one of the receptionists, at the end of the day to exchange my visitor’s badge for my driver’s license. Denise doesn’t speak English, but I know that Dan, one of the other BTL teachers, has been teaching her the odd phrase here and there.

So I couldn’t help but smile when she said ‘J’ in English as she looked for my card. She handed it back to me, asking how she says my name.

“[Jolie],” I said with a smile, then translated it into French for her. “C’est comme [belle] en français.”

Ah,” she laughed, “parce que vous êtes un très belle mademoiselle.”

Merci.”

Donc, belle en anglais – B . . .

“B-E-A-U,” I spelt it for her in English, “comme ‘beau’. B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.”

“Ah – boh-ti-foo,” she said.

I repeated with a grin – “beautiful.”

“Beau-ti . . .”

“Ful,” I prompted.

“Ful!” she finished with a laugh. “Donc Mrs, non, Miss . . .”

“Yes, Miss,” I confirmed.

“Miss Beautiful!” she handed me my license triumphantly. “See you next . . .”

“See you next week,” I said.

“See you next week!” she repeated.

As far as nicknames go, that is one I could get used to.

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