09 décembre 2013

Notre Dame de Fatima

                   The last big classical concert we had in Mayotte was with the Nomad Baroque group who had come for a few days to play. They had invited the music school classical orchestra as well as several other musicians to play with them, including me. This time, it was OUR concert. I remember playing in churches before as a music school pupil, along with all the other music school pupils, but this was the first time I took part in a concert as a professional musician. ... [Lire la suite]
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25 novembre 2013

Whodunnit

             I'm working on crime at the moment with my students. In the first lesson, they came up with crime vocabulary in French and looked up the English words in the dictionary. Experience must have spoken because the first words they said were "rape" and "pedophile". What a start. Unfortunately, these are real problems here. They studied "newspaper articles" about hypothetical burglaries at "10, Upping Street, London" and filled in the above "Help Catch A Thief" page describing the guy... [Lire la suite]
18 novembre 2013

Striking Teachers.

            Before the school holidays, the French authorities started talking about their civil servants. Specifically the civil servants working overseas. As you already know, all French civil servants receive bonuses for working in the French overseas territories such as Mayotte, French Guyana or New Caledonia. These bonuses are calculated according to the civil servant's salary: at the start of your career, you get a 10,000-euro bonus, at the end of your career, you're closer to a 35,000-euro... [Lire la suite]
07 octobre 2013

Those who can, cook. Those who can't, eat.

         I've been teaching my students about food recently, as you saw in the recent blog post about the European classes. They love learning the English words for their local fruit and vegetables: cassava, breadfruit, chicken wings... they're shouting over each other to get the answers out. Unfortunately, they shout it out in Shimaorese first. When I complain, they shout in French. So I point to the giant "WHAT'S THE ENGLISH FOR...?" sign at the back of the room. Everybody suddenly goes quiet, you can... [Lire la suite]
30 septembre 2013

Parent-Teacher Meeting

                       It was National Parent-Teacher Meeting Day on Saturday. You can thank the Vice-Rectorate for that. What a mess. It started off innocently enough. Instead of each school organizing its own PT meeting, the high education authority in Mayotte decided to set one morning aside for all the schools to have their meetings at the same time. Saturday 28th September, from 7.30 to 11.30. So far, so good. Our school had planned on getting the teachers to show... [Lire la suite]
16 septembre 2013

A European In Mayotte

         In my opinion, healthy food is the best. I don't think junk food is better, because it's too fatty and unhealthy.Personally, I like healthy food because it's full of vitamins, it's more natural.I wouldn't say it's the cheapest or quickest but nevertheless, it's important for our health.           Several - if not most - middle and high schools in France have what's known as a European section. In middle school, this means five hours of English per week instead of three,... [Lire la suite]
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02 septembre 2013

Here we go again.

            School's back. Again. The yearly rush of pupils who have been hanging around the school doors for a good week now, staying outside all day and convincing their parents that classes had already started up, thereby getting out of working in the fields and cooking lunch. Kids who've moved on to the next school up shouting hellos in the street or popping up in the supermarket. The blank looks when the teachers ask the students to take a pen and paper, somehow imagining that said students might... [Lire la suite]
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24 juin 2013

Dramatic

       For the last six months, three colleagues and I have been doing a drama workshop with the kids at school. I filed it as a "school project" at the end of last year, so the Vice-Rectorate (high education authority) gave the school a grant of seven hundred euros to "promote culture in schools". Only one rule: the theme was to be "Culture and History of Mayotte". We therefore asked the kids to produce scenes of their own invention, as they were necessarily going to act scenes of their everyday life, which is... [Lire la suite]
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20 mai 2013

Kawéni

               My school and most of my pupils belong to the village of Kawéni, between Mamoudzou and Majicavo-Lamir. Both village and school have quite a reputation. The village is known for being the starting point of most of the complaints, robberies, strikes and riots in Mayotte, as it's a poor suburb of the capital city. The school is famous for its disruptive pupils who come from extremely poor families. Currently, there are 1500 pupils, and we're expecting another 300 for next... [Lire la suite]
15 avril 2013

Who let the kids out?

          Last Thursday, I was called in to replace a sick colleague on a school trip. The idea was to take a class of 14-year-olds to visit the remains of a sugar-cane factory, a copra dryer and a museum about ylang-ylang flowers and vanilla. Two teachers, twenty-nine students, one bus. Should be interesting. The class was - and still is, for that matter - my worst class, which didn't help. They were the other teacher's worst class too. Bright kids, but just so noisy... the sort of class where you can... [Lire la suite]