, , , , , , , ,


I’ve started teaching* English in my village to a group of French retirees. The lady who usually does it is the town-planner, so she’s often called into meetings, and for this reason my services were offered – not by me, but by one of her students – so I now take on her duties once every three weeks. Tuesday night was my first time in charge, here are a few excerpts from that evening.


I asked the group to tell me something they had done that week that they didn’t like. Three people said the same thing:

Denis: ‘I had to make some jam, but I didn’t like it’

Michelle: ‘I made jam, but I didn’t like doing it’

Francoise: ‘I made jam, 50 pots, but I didn’t like it’

Me: ‘Do you sell this jam?’

All: ‘No’

Me: ‘If you don’t like doing it, why don’t you just stop?’

All: ‘But the fruit will go bad’

Me: ‘So give the fruit to the animals, or people’

All: *blank stares*


On my teaching methods

‘Can you talk slower’

‘I can’t understand you, can you talk slower’

After saying a lengthy passage of text out loud

‘Can you write that on the board?’ (I do)

‘What is that? Is that a Russian character?’ (I’ve written my ‘h’s with a sloping bridge)

‘You keep dropping your ‘t’s, pronounce your ‘t’s’

‘Has he started talking slower?’


On my accent

Francoise: ‘Is he American? Are you American?’

Me: ‘No I’m from Yorkshire’

Francoise (frowning, turning to her friend Martine): ‘Is he American?’

Martine: ‘No, he’s from Yorkshire’

Francoise: ‘Oh yes, like the dogs, Yorkshire Terriers’


Apropos of nothing

Christine: ‘We had to get a new ram. It was having too much sex with the other sheep and would have messed up the gene pool. We bought another one’

On being asked what she did with the old one

Christine: ‘We killed it and ate it. Well, not all of it, most of it is in the freezer’


That’s just a snippet of the many things that were said that night. I loved doing it. Hopefully they did too. Can’t wait for the next class.


*The term teaching is used here in its loosest possible sense