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June 29, 2012


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Congrats on making it through a difficult school year. From your pictures and your writing I can tell that you are an excellent mother. You have a sweet, loving family and good friends. Thanks for sharing with us. I love to read your blog.


Same experience over here, except that the teachers never said something as bad as "nul". My son is just finishing his last year of maternelle, and it has been AWESOME. I feel like this time, it really clicked with the teacher. All the boys were running to get to class first, but the first two years were rough. Hope you have the same experience. It sucks when they have a bad teacher and are so small...

Lisa, a.k.a. The Bold Soul

If a teacher called my kid a zero, I'd be calling a lawyer. Not that legally there is probably much that could be done, but to let the school know that I wouldn't tolerate any adult degrading my child that way. The teachers are supposed to be the professionals. But I get what you're saying, the system is so very different here from what we grew up with.

One thing Georges did when his youngest was in Elementaire (maybe also in Maternelle, I'm not sure) was he got elected onto the Parents' group at the school (he ran and was elected for 3 out of the past 5 years; this year was last time as his son will start collège in September!) He felt that was a good way of kind of keeping his hand in with what his kid was exposed to in the school, and it let him build relationships with the Directrice and teachers. The old Directrice, everyone HATED, but last year a new one came in and she's a huge improvement. So maybe that's something you or Julien could consider doing, especially when Max starts Elementary school.

I know one thing I've learned about the French in general is that you don't get far at all with them, trying to directly blame them for things they are doing wrong (even when it is so OBVIOUS they are at fault, they never want to admit it: "Pas moi!") I know you've probably found the same thing. So I understood immediately what you meant by being frustrated at having to walk on eggshells. But it sounds like you're doing a good job at home of supporting Max through having had some difficult teachers and rebuilding his confidence.


It is sometimes difficult for me as well to be a foreign mom. I have a hard time knowing if my reaction is cultural or if something is objectively wrong.

In any case, no teacher, in any country, should be telling students they are nul. I am so sorry about that. I can only understand how upset you must have been when you met with the principal!

I also started volunteering at school. It is a huge time commitment but so worth it. I know a lot more about what is going on and I know my boys' teachers better too. But again, huge time commitment. And I am self-employed too, so it's rough juggling everything sometimes.

My second is like your second, I think, plus the need to "channel" all that energy. Luckily we got a fantastic teacher for all three years of scuola materna (that would be your maternelle) and she is very good with him. She has a way of getting him to do what she wants without it turning into a contest of wills, and this from a child who just today went up against the lifeguard at the pool! (He is only three.)

I hope things work out for you better with the teachers in September.

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