Education seems to be a theme this week. At language class on Monday afternoon, Christiane explained the mysteries of the French educational system to Laury, Greg and me. She laid it out on paper: maternelle, primary school, college, lycee, university and told us how kids are directed either to university for arts & humanities, other higher education programs for the sciences or to trade school based on which 'Bac' specialty they declare and their score. Students must declare their intentions early in lycee (high school). All students learn English beginning in the lower primary grades. And because there is the expectation of success in all classes, V.'s parents have asked Laury to help him with his English after school one day a week . On Wednesday afternoon because the Chatette was a bit chilly, Laury and V. came up to my place for their weekly session...the letter was 'G.' Over a mug of hot tea and a nibble of something sweet, they giggled over grandmother, girlfriend and grand. Laury is always careful to point out that American English is a little different than British English (which is what is taught here), so V. learns the correct usage and spelling of words for his class.
On Thursday, we had a new pupil in our French class at Christiane's...her grandson, Tom! He's 4 years old and goes to maternelle, but not that day. The teachers were on strike in protest over plans to cut a teacher position and close a class due to a decrease in enrollment. I told Laury it was very fortunate that they picked the most beautiful day of the winter...warm and sunny...to go on strike! Yesterday (Friday), I walked to Cajarc again. Plastered all over the school...signs of the strike. I need to ask Christiane about this one; I read it as a sit-in and protest with a picnic at 1:30pm. I don't think the French do anything without food!