From the interesting to the trivial to the the mundane to the hilarious, here's an ongoing list of things that I have come to learn or realize during my months spent in Lorraine, France. Come back next Friday for 3 more. (OOPS, this time, Friday came two days late).
Fun France Facts Friday, Volume II: HIGH SCHOOLFor two school years in a row, I've been teaching high school/ middle school in Lorraine (Nancy-Metz Academie), France. There have been many common running themes that I find quite bizarre compared to my American high-school experience. Keep in mind, I only speak for my experience in Lorraine. The rest of France could be different (but I doubt it).
1) Toute en noir: So we know what the "typical" American girl high school look is: hair perfectly in place (usually bleached), preppy style, perfectly applied makeup, tan skin bronzed from the tanning bed.
2) Popularity Deficit: I was shocked to find out that popularity doesn't really exist French high schools; I thought that the popularity factor was just a natural element of the adolescent human nature. Weird, right?
Instead, the students more-so just have their group of friends and that's it; they're friends usually from being in the same classes. ...there aren't even different categories of students (the jocks, preps, stoners, goths). So, this can be viewed as a great thing, right? No life-long complexes from not being a popular girl/guy. Well, first I must point out that the kids can be just as cruel. Second, when I realized perhaps WHY there is no popularity, it's not so sweet...which leads me to my next point:
3) School=Work & Only Work:
Okay...continuing from the last point, essentially, I believe, popularity isn't present because there is no "high-school" culture in France. School is a 8-5 job; the students are there to work and only work (even though most are super lazy to even do that).
There are NO school sports, no extracurricular activities, no proms, no musicals, no homecomings, no graduation ceremonies, no high school Senior traditions, no yearbooks, no school pride. However, I believe the popularity deficit exists for one key reason: no school sports. Lack of team sports= no stars of the school. No Freshman girls drooling over the Senior star quarterback. No cheerleaders performing for pep-rallies. There are not even grand assemblies where certain students are in front of the whole student body. So essentially, the community aspect of American high school is completely void. That's why my students always say, "Oh, la chance!" (ah, the luck!) when I discuss high school in America. If only they knew how much I still hated high school...even with all the fun stuff.
Whelp, that makes 3..'til next Friday (or Sunday, in today's case).