Friday, November 2, 2007

A rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore.

For Halloween, I had my English classes do "The Raven," which was longer than I remembered it being, and is difficult for native English speakers to begin with. But, French kids are tricky, I find, because if you make things easy, they feel you're condescending. If you make things too hard, they are quick to give up. Still, they would rather be challenged. So I downloaded a reading of the poem with Vincent Price and played it for them approximately forty billion times.

Ok, I exaggerate, but really, I played it, stanza by stanza three or four times for each of my classes. Then I would make them tell me what they'd understood, turn to the text and ask me for vocabulary help. It was a task, but it worked. It worked, and I felt great. I don't know if I've ever felt prouder than when the youngest boy in one my classes, Olivier, told me he though the raven was Lenore's ghost and justified his claim with textual evidence. Can you imagine? An explication in a second language. Olivier is now my favorite.

I like teaching. It's unexpected.

Toussaints has been lovely. I've hiked a lot in the Jura, and I got a second pillow. Tonight, Charles is coming to visit. I'm going to splurge, I think, and take him to a nice fondue restaurant.

Besancon has settled into an autumnal loveliness I can't adequately describe. It's all golden leaves and golden light. It's a great place to pass a fall, and it's my first real fall in five years. If I can track down some apple cider, I will be the happiest girl in the world.

I also recently tried the favorite regional wine, a soft white from Arbois, and it was maybe the most delicious wine I've ever had. And, if you come, I will order you a triangle aux amondes, which is like a crossaint, but topped with a sugar glaze and almond bits. It is my new favorite breakfast food.


Andrew said...
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Andrew said...

Toussaints = "all saints"? Like All Saints Day?

Congrats on the teaching achievements!

Anonymous said...

Funny. I use the same techniques with native English speakers. It's pretty scary when your students understand at least as well as mine.