I can't believe it's here... my last week in Lille/Marcq-en-Baroeul/Lys-Lez-Lannoy. A week from today I'll be reunited with my mom in London and three weeks from today I'll be back home in Seattle! It's awfully bittersweet. The past month I've been so ready to go home that I was wishing time would pick up the pace. Now that it's so close to the end, I'm hoping it'll go by slowly so I can savor each moment. I did a bang up job preparing myself to leave Seattle to come here... but I didn't realize until today that I also need to prepare myself to leave France behind. I'm going to miss having a roommate who sings along to Beyoncé in the shower, Monday grocery shopping trips with Silvia, checking in with Françoise every morning before class, and Raphaël's adorable grin. Mostly I'm just going to miss being around them. Luckily, my circle of friends in France is more quality than quantity-based, so I don't have that many people to learn to miss.
As predicted, any remaining authority over the students has been lost after Kermesse. Monday was the absolute worst day I've had at work all year. My least favorite class, Anne's CE1 (1st grade), was out of control. Last week she'd told me she'd be gone and I wouldn't have her class. I was quite excited - until some students came to tell me she was waiting for me to do English. She was wrong about the date... I was going to play Hot or Cold with them but that never happened. The hellions were ten times as agitated as normal and I lasted only ten minutes. Nine minutes was spent yelling at the same students who were purposely acting out. I'd yell, take a breath, and then the same damned kid would be doing exactly what I'd ordered them to stop doing. After 10 minutes, I walked into Anne's office and told her I was done and that I couldn't support their behavior any longer. Except I couldn't make it across the classroom without breaking into tears. Then Anne firmly told me not to cry in front of them - of course I knew that but I couldn't hold it in. It wasn't even that I took it personally. My motivation is shot and my energy for dealing with their behavior ran out months ago; I just hit my breaking point. I really feel bad for the small handful of students that want to learn anything in that class. Tomorrow I will explain to Anne that I refuse to teach her class on Monday. I'm putting my foot down and insisting on it. Those kids don't deserve another 45 minutes with me and I deserve to end this on a good note.
I have three days of work left but only two days of teaching. On my last day, Silvia's class is going on a field trip and I am accompanying them! Silvia's working it all out and I'm excited because this way, I'll get to spend my whole last day with her and Raphaël (and not teaching)! Silvia and I are also having lunch at Françoise's house tomorrow, which will be fun. Not to mention that I get to see them both this weekend! (And Fréd, too!)