Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Institution Sainte Jeanne d'Arc - A Day...

..In the Life (*)

Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up I noticed I was (not) late

Found my rain coat and grabbed my
 Made the taxi in seconds flat 

Found my way to school

And somebody spoke and I went into a dream ...Summer is over :+(

 What an interesting experience we went through the first day of school, Monday, Sept 12 - if you want to even call it a day. First things first - prior to the start  (and this is probably not new to any French friend)  - the school provides you a list of all the cahiers of various sizes and colors, covers for the cahiers of various sizes, books,  colored pens, colored pencils, colored markers, song book, erasers, tape, glue, calculator, dictionary, ruler, compass, and so on and  let's not forget the 1 "flute a bec"  (recorder - I even remembered how to play Mary Had a Little Lamb on it) and  you are to purchase it all before school starts.  When Manning went to the bookstore to get all the goods he came back with two carry on suitcases full - which is why it was necessary to take the taxi the first day + it was raining a bit. In our eagerness - I think I mentioned - we showed up at the school in anticipation for the start at about 8:00.  The process of you discovering your teacher and class is that "La Directrice" calls out the class level, the teachers name and then starts calling out the child assigned to that class. The child (with parent/s or nanny) line up and then with all those bags march up to their class. Apparently this is a tradition they do every year. By about 8:40 or so when the first round was completed - we and many other parents with their kids (and books) - were still milling - new parents of kids in the upper grades as well. Fortunately having met "La Directrice" during the prior week - she saw us in the courtyard and with the help of the "English" teacher - explained to us it was a staggered start (which did make us wonder why it seemed at first there were not that many children at the school) - that's the part I missed reading on their website - so she said come back at 10:00. Easy peasy - given our frumpy apartment in the best location! Thankfully we were able to arrange to leave "les valises" at the guard station. We walked home. Returned again by 10:00 and the process started all over - this time way more kids!

Madame Gros - "La Directrice"

Once Parker and Addison had been called to their respective teachers/class/line to march up to their rooms  on the 2nd level (I'm pretty sure there is no elevator in the primary school building) - Manning and I grabbed each of those carry on bags - lugged them up a flight and quickly took the bags out. As kids were finding a seat and parents taking the stuff out of the bags it left very little time if any for all parents to do their cuddling, coddling, dawdling, lingering, picture taking (if lucky) or hugging (just barely) - at that point "Class was in session". I was the last to unpack due to having to get the bag at the guard station so I kept politely repeating "Je suis desolee". Then I was gone too!  By the time this was all done - we walked back to the apartment by 11:00 with a short stop at the local supperette - only to leave again by 11:50 to pick them up by 12.  

No complaints about the first day - no homework, only one hour, and the start of making some new friends.

(*) The Beatles (with a twist)


  1. Thanks Hilary for this great story. What a difference on a first day with Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley! I'll share it with my colleagues. But I don't think they'd be in favor of staggering arrivals, or assigning classes and teachers that way.
    Thanks for the lovely pictures of your sons at school, and for introducing their "Directrice".


  2. Bonjour

    The school looks nice. I love the uniforms. How was the first week of school for everyone? Do the children go home for a two-hour lunch?


  3. The pictures are great. The twins look good and the school looks pretty.
    That first day sounds hectic but maybe fun(?).