23 février 2015

N'Gouja, probably for the last time.

                                   It's the holidays next week, so this weekend was really the last one before the holidays on which to go to the beach. I don't go that often - not really interested in lying around in the heat, and not bothered about salty water and small fish - but H loves the beach, and I'd promised to bring him back some sand from his favourite beach in Mayotte. So I rang up a colleague who... [Lire la suite]

08 septembre 2014

The beginning of the end: my last back-to-school rush in Mayotte.

            School started again on August 25th. In Mayotte, the teaching profession has one of the highest turnovers I've ever seen. This year, only three new colleagues joined the English-teaching ranks in my school. Two had been teaching in various lycées before this year, and were still recoiling from the shock of collège. The kids are small... energetic... very noisy... don't understand this... aren't mature enough for that... and the new colleagues weren't quite sure what to make of them. The... [Lire la suite]
06 janvier 2014

Overseas Women

                        There was a national photography competition in France not long ago, whose title was: "Overseas Women". As the Mahorese people didn't like the results, saying they weren't representative enough of women in the French overseas territories, they had their very own competition, open only to those who lived in Mayotte. This was the winning photograph. A young Mahorese woman, smartphone in hand and laptop... well, on lap. Busy... [Lire la suite]
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27 mai 2013

Don't talk rubbish. Please.

               Discussion with my computer students about statistics.   "When we say 'Sales have picked up', what does that mean? Are sales going up or down?" "Miss, 'pick up' means 'ramasser' in French." "Right, and when we pick something up, what do we do with it?" (We lift it up) "We put it in the bin."   Not exactly what I was trying to get the lad to say, but at least he made us laugh!       
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28 janvier 2013

Training the Future

                  Just before the Christmas holidays, the company I work for outside school asked me to teach English to a group of students training to become computer technicians. A group of ten to fifteen people aged anywhere between 16 and 40, whom I would be teaching English to for 60 hours. Mostly technical English, computer vocabulary, how to answer a computer hotline in English, that sort of thing. For four hours every Saturday morning, paid peanuts. Sorry, not interested.... [Lire la suite]
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08 octobre 2012

Let the Teacher do the Work

                  Recently, I've been taking my kids into the computer room. For a start, there are 15 computers, 4 of which don't work but which all the kids absolutely want to try anyway, "I'm sure I can make it work, Miss". Of course, they can't, so we all get frustrated.        Instruction n°1 : Switch the PC on. "Miss, what's a PC?" "A computer." "Miss, I haven't got a username or password, last year's don't work." "That's OK, use the ones on the board." ... [Lire la suite]
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