"Jean, sit down. No Klara, you can not have a sweetie yet. We have one at the end of the lesson, remember? And only if...?"
"Only if we've been good."
"Well done, good girl Klara. Camille, what's wrong, why are you crying?"
"I don't want to sit beside Jeaaaannn!"
"Well that's not very nice, is it?"
"He farted and it smells bad!"
"Jean, go and sit over there please. Yes, beside Alexandra, that's it."
"But this chair is pink! I want a blue chair!"
"It doesn't matter what colour the chair is Jean, now please sit down or there will be no sweeties at the end of the lesson."
"No, Klara, not yet. Soon. Okay, can we get started please?"
"What is it Jane? Sit down, please."
"But I need to do a poo!"
"Oh. Okay then, go on."
"Haha she needs a poo! Caca boudin!"
"Stop that right now Maxime! We don't use language like that in this classroom."
"Caca boudin, caca boudin!"
"Abel, stop that! If anybody uses that type of language in this class then there will be no sweeties."
"Ok, fine. No sweetie for you Hugo."
"No Klara, not yet. Mathis! What are you doing?!"
"He bit me first!"
"No I didn't, he bit me!"
"Well André, I think you should swap seats with Alexandra, please. That's it, quickly, we have work to do."
"What is it Lyla? Do you have something to show us all?"
"What is it then? Oooh, it's a...what is it?"
"It's a bus ticket!"
"Oh yes, I see. It's a bus ticket. Isn't that lovely? Ok, take a seat and let's begin."
Well, my holidays are well and truly over. Tomorrow evening I will be back at 'school', teaching the little ones and pulling my hair out in my frustration when the naughty ones decide to be naughty or the quiet ones refuse to speak.
I had never imagined how much of a roller coaster ride it could be to teach children. One minute you're driven to distraction because they're bouncing off the walls, not listening to a word you're saying and the next they make you want to cry with pride because they're all up singing 'I'm a superhero! I can run, I can hide, I can jump, I can fly!' in almost perfect English and it only took 16 weeks of practice to get them to learn the words and not just do the actions.
There are lots of difficult moments. Like when a parent complains that their 3 year old child isn't speaking fluent English yet. Or when a kid arrives in class in a vile mood and screams bloody murder when his mother tries to leave him with me. Or when the sweet little ones come in with great big whopping boggies hanging out their noses. Or worse. When one of those boggies is stabbed onto the end of a tiny finger and offered up to me as a gift.
But then there's the nice parts. I'm told I'm beautiful so often by some of those kids that it makes me want to take them all home and ask them how I look when I need a pick-me-up. And then at home time or after the holidays some of the children strain their necks to look up at me, pouting their lips to give me a kiss on the cheek. Or when one child was crying because he was tired, but instead of causing a fuss and running after her when his mum left him, he crawled onto my knee and had a cuddle instead. And I know it's cheesy but it's true...the best part is when they see you and their face breaks out into a big massive grin. Those are the good parts.
P.S. Can anyone tell me if that apostrophe is supposed to be there in the heading? I've always been one to point and laugh when I see extra apostrophes in shop window signs etc but since I've been living in France and haven't written for such a long time I'm less sure of myself!