Me A Teacher!

The next day my first visit was to Mme. Bouclier. I never used to like shopping, but calling into a small, family store for a few things was different. And Mme. Bouclier was not only friendly but also very encouraging. At first, she didn't really understand very much and my shopping was a bit of a hit and a miss - witness the soap flake soup which was not my only disaster. In time, however, I managed to put together quite an impressive shopping list, and usually went home with what I wanted. I didn't really need very much today but just wanted to thank her for the asparagus soup she'd sent round. Coming as it did after that visit to the inner courts of the regional immigration office, it was the best pick-up I could have wished for. So it was quite by chance that my questions of the night before, began to get some answers.

"Well Mr. Simon, I really must congratulate you. Your French is getting better every day. You're even beginning to speak just like one of us."

"I'm afraid, it'll be a long time before my French will be anything like yours, Mme. Bouclier. It's still pretty limited even if I am beginning to make myself understood. There are so many things I have in my mind that I just can't put into words."

"Maybe! But you're using our words, not those big words people in offices use and you're saying them the way we say them; that's what I mean."

"Well, that's not surprising. It's in the pub I learn most of my French. Straight out of the horse's mouth, so to speak." I was really proud of that saying. I had learnt it a few evenings before talking with a local blacksmith, and it was the second time I'd used it since.

"Anyway, what I really came here for is to say thank you for that wonderful asparagus soup I got last night. It was delicious. And home made, I'm sure."

"Not only that Mr. Simon but fresh from our very own field. Me husband only picked it yesterday mornin."

"Well, it was delicious. And if there's anything I can ever do for you, just tell me."

"Well actually...." She broke off a little sheepishly.

"Now come on Mme. Bouclier, no secrets from me. What is it? I'll be only to glad to help."

"Well, you see Mr. Simon, I'd really love to learn some English. I never had much schooling like, though I did get to visit London with me Dad when I young. And ever since I've been wanting to learn English. We did have some courses at the espace loisirs a few years back. But they never let me in. Didn't have enough schooling, they said. Not even worth my trying. Anyway, I want to learn to speak like you speak, not like they speak in books."

"But they don't give English classes any more, do they?"

"No, they stopped after about a few months. They only had three or four people and the teacher didn't want to come all the way from Besançon for that many. But no one really liked her anyway. Cut above the rest of us she was. And made us feel it, too. But you Mr. Simon, you could do it. If you was to give some classes, half the village would come."

"I don't think, that's quite right, Mme Bouclier. But I've been wondering if I couldn't do anything here in the village. Maybe, that's the answer."

"Oh, that would be great Mr. Simon! And I'll be your best student, I promise!"

I thought a lot about what Mme. Bouclier had said. Her grievances struck a cord with me. My father had been a schoolteacher and had thrown it all in when I was 15. "Doing no one no good," he had said. "Just teaching people what they don't want to know." He had hoped to get a job at the local community college, but his former employees put pay to that. He'd ended up traveling the markets selling antiques. So ashamed he was that he'd always have to hide away whenever any of his colleagues came by. But he for ever remained a fervent believer in education for everyone and I was beginning to follow in his footsteps. But could I really teach English? I spoke it well enough, of course. But I'd never really considered myself an academic. Besides, as far as I knew the espace loisirs came under the auspices of the town council and I couldn't see M. Demille accepting me as a teacher. I decided to talk to Jean about it in the pub that afternoon.

"Well lad, it would give you something else to do. And they've been wanting some new blood in the place ever since Violette went back to university. Her writing classes were always popular, enjoyed them every time, I did. Damn fine looking girl, too. Left a big whole when she quit. And left Thérèse with a load of extra work trying to run the place. I'd have a word with her about it, if I were you. And don't worry about M. Demille. He'll be an easy hurdle to get over, we'll see to that."


Very enjoyable!!!

And, asparagus soup sounds quite yummy!!!!

Happy 3WW.


17 October 2007 at 18:06  

Love your posts every week. Makes me wish I were there.

17 October 2007 at 21:42  

this is wonderful.. now how you are going to follow up on this ,, i cant imagine,,, but i will be here to find out!!!!!!

18 October 2007 at 04:34  

Just caught up some more of the story, I see that you are settling in well...look forward to more. Thanks.

18 October 2007 at 05:16  

I think it's always interesting to read about someone trying to learn another language: there are always some mishaps :)

It's nice to see him settling in.

19 October 2007 at 02:57  

No, it's me who is a techar!

Saying that..I like this!

19 October 2007 at 10:38  

I liked the little aside about the character's father. Made the story come alive even more.

19 October 2007 at 16:23  

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