Thursday, April 22, 2010

Elever dans une grange???

In general I try to avoid complaining too much about my job on here, and I definitely try to avoid specifics for fear of losing my job or never being able to find another one.  However...I just have to say that the last week or two my students have been driving me crazy and I just have to say something!

In the past two weeks I have had my lesson plans insulted, I have been prejudiced against because I am American, I have been treated like I'm stupid, I have had a million cancellations (I know I've already complained about this..), I have dealt with some of the most impolite people I have ever met (after, of course, the bitch who I mentioned here and here) and I have been horribly disrespected.  And it just makes me want to punch someone!  But instead, I have to sit there, smile, act like I don't care and like nothing is bothering me, and just take it.  This is one of the things that really makes me angry about my job! 

So, in the ridiculousness of my life I took the insults and complaints about my lesson plans like a big girl and made myself feel a little better by giving the students really boring grammar exercises and vocabulary work to do when they didn't want to discuss the interesting articles I had brought Oddly this is the same technique I used to use on my lycéens when I was an assistant...if they didn't listen or they misbehaved one week, the next week I would bring in the most boring economics article I could find.

When the man was prejudiced against me because I am American and complained about having me as his professor, I ignored it, though I was pretty angry about it.  I just don't understand why having a British professor is they can say things like bloody all the time?

When my student treated me like I was stupid I just smiled through it (which probably made him think I was even more stupid) and thanked the gods of English teachers that I only had one week left with him.

But what I REALLY can't handle right now is the disrespect and their overall rude behavior.  Were these people raised in barns!?!?!  They probably were...I'm becoming more and more convinced that most French people were raised in barns based on their lack of consideration, respect for others and basic manners all together.
So what happened this time?  Well, I was finally getting over the cancellations at looking at it as a blessing giving me a few minutes of peace in the middle of my overall crazy schedule.  But those were the cancellations of which I was informed in advance.  However, in the past two days I should have taught 6 lessons to 6 different groups (after the other 3 cancellations I had been told of weeks in advance).  How many of those 6 lessons did I teach?  2.  And to how many of those 6 groups?  1.  And how many of those 6 lessons did I go to? All fucking 6 of them!!!!  And that's when I started to realize just how rude and disrespectful my stupid students really are.

So basically, in the end, I wasted 5.5 hours yesterday and 5 hours today for NOTHING!  Yesterday I should have taught 2 lessons.  When I arrived at the first one the receptionist told me that my student was sick and hadn't bothered to cancel.  So I left and spent 2 hours at Starbucks before heading to La Défense for the next lesson.  Walking to the next lesson I already had a bad feeling (let's just say I have had a LOT of problems with these 3 men since I started with them 6 weeks ago), and sure enough, my suspicions were confirmed 45 minutes after my arrival when the receptionist still hadn't succeeded in reaching any of them and I was finally allowed to leave (according to my company I have to wait 45 minutes to see if a student shows up before I can just leave).  This is not the first time this has happened to me with these men and lets just say they are extremely disrespectful...they take their lunch breaks during our scheduled lesson time, they just don't come, they never tell me in advance that they need to cancel they lesson, they just never show up and let me wait for them in their company, and they have never once, in 6 weeks of this happening, apologized for their behavior.  After my trip to La Défense I was folle de rage as I stormed to the metro to drag myself home having successful wasted my entire afternoon for nothing since I didn't even get to teach one lesson.  It only became worse when I found out that at least one of these men was on vacation this week and didn't even bother to mention it!!!

Then today I headed over to Issy-les-Moulineaux for my first 3 lessons.  I arrived feeling good, if not a little tired.  I went to the forth floor and the receptionist regretfully informs me that my student is absent she forgot to tell me.  But don't worry, the next group might be able to come early.  Ok, that's fine, whatever.  Except then only 1 person from my second group (of 3 people) came.  So I did my lesson with her.  Then I did the same lesson with 1 other person from her group at their normal time.  Unfortunately, the man from the group couldn't come to the lesson today...of course.  Then, at the end of the second lesson, the woman for my third lesson at the company came by to tell me she was sorry but she couldn't do the lesson today.  So I left early and headed to La Défense to spend 3 hours waiting for my last lesson of the day because I didn't have time to really go home.  When I got to La Défense I headed straight to Starbucks to read for my 3 hour break.  When the three hours were over I headed to my last lesson only to wait 30 minutes in the company before the man came down to tell me that unfortunately he couldn't do the lesson today. couldn't have told me that 30 minutes ago instead of making me wait just to find out we weren't even having a lesson!?!?!  And so, I could have been home at 1:30, but instead I got home at 6:30 because of this man!

Why can't these people cancel in advance?  Or, if it is a last minute thing, they all have my email address and my phone number...they could send an email, make a quick call, or even send a quick text to let me know not to come.  To me, this is just completely rude and shows an unbelieveable amount of disrespect towards me.  It makes me never want to see these people again...and unfortunately I have to, once a week, for a lot more weeks.  I just can't imagine having a scheduled meeting and then not showing up or not at least calling to cancel when something comes up that prevents me from being there!  And so I ask again...where were these people raised!?!?!

For the other English teachers out there...what do you think?  Do you often have this problem???


  1. wow, yes totally disrespectful as well as other words which I will not type here.
    Do you still get paid if they are no shows? I sure hope so!!! and if you don't (I've heard of english teachers not getting paid if the lesson is not done) then you should if there is not a minimum 24h cancellation prior.
    What b**tards.
    ps. I'm a Brit and I don't think it has anything to do with you being American.

  2. Well,I have the same problem in Romania with teaching English classes but in my contract it is stipulated that,if they fail to be present and they don't cancel it 12 hours in advance I am still payed for that class and that I do not have to reschedule it( since it is marked as done) . So yes, it is unpleasant but , since I am payed to spend that time WITHOUT actually teaching I really do not care much. It is their problem not mine. I would be bothered if they said they are not coming to classes because I am not a good/committed teacher but since it has naver happened.... I also don't think it has to do with nationality. I am a Romanian citizien and most of my students are Romanians and German /Argentinian/Czech expats. I have discovered they all do the same.

  3. And yet the French are thought of as being ultra-polite. Your experiences certainly bust up that stereotype!

    When I was an Assistante d'anglais in a lycee in 1996-97, I also experienced anti-American-teacher prejudice. One of my American friends at a different school was even told by her principal that she needed to speak with an English accent in the classroom!

    I think all this points to the lack of interest and understanding a lot of people have about learning languages.

  4. Yes, luckily I still get paid if they don't show up because we have a 24 hour cancellation policy...but regardless it is just rude to not show up and to not even contact me to tell me they can't be there!

    And after this Wednesday and Thursday, the same thing happened to me on the last group didn't show up after I had spent 2 hours sitting in the Tuileries waiting to see them! It was just an unbelievable week! I've never had that many people not show up in 1 week before! Even my boss was surprised!

    And the anti American prejudice is continuing too...I just had a group I see on Friday refuse to continue their lessons with me because I'm American and not British...

    Sometimes I just wonder why I have to put up with this stuff!