Aero: Emma (Reno) Bondi – France 2015 – Life at School


Aero: Emma (Reno) Bondi – France 2015 – Life at School
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Aero: Emma (Reno) Bondi – France 2015 – Life at School


Reno Bondi

What fun to be back in high school, a place I vowed never again to return and had made every effort to depart from at my earliest convenience. Life at school felt rather relaxed. Kids have lockers, which they may share with another students. Unlike the tall vertical lockers that line the halls of American high schools, there is a separate room, sort of like a foyer, where rows of lockers sit. They are square and small in size. It’s literally only used to store one’s backpack. The whole institution of locker decorating is obsolete here.

The school is also built for energy efficiency. Hallway lights need to be turned on manually, and very often, hit a sleep mode and turn themselves off. I experienced this first hand when walking to class and the hallway went dark. My host student had to literally turn the lights back on. It was amusing, to say the least.

Lunch time at school is definitely better than it was during my school days. Each period lasted forty minutes, and that included lunch. It was about fifty/fifty for those who brought lunch versus those who bought lunch. It seems more a common institution to buy lunch in French schools; I never observed anyone toting a lunchbox. The French have an least an hour, probably longer, for lunch. In the cafeteria, there are plastic trays, glass cups, and real silverware. None of that plastic and styrofoam crap we’re used to. The menu choices are both healthy, tasty, and moderate in size.

If I haven’t mentioned it yet, France is full of supermodels. Not just facially wise, but also in fashion. And these teens are no exception. They’re stylin’, whilen, livin’ it up in the city.

The class sizes were small I suppose, compared to the size of college classes I currently attend. Very small, if compared to the lecture halls filled at RIT, where the usually capacity hit triple digits. I would say around twelve to twenty students attended in any given class. I vaguely remember my high school classes being bigger.

The room was divided up by tables or clustered desks. Tables, usually two pushed together, accommodated four students. Desk clusters, about the same. In my high school, we each had an individual desk, separated in spaced columns and rows. All of this combined gives one the feeling of a more intimate setting.

The teaching techniques were nothing beyond the ordinary of back home. The usual lecture method was used, with occasional handouts to accompany.

The materials were all the same standard equipment; pen, pencil, eraser, notepaper. Though I do have to mention in particular their notepaper. It’s akin to graph paper, with a hoard more horizontal lines. This in turn makes their handwriting not only neater, but smaller as well. I think this makes for more effective note taking, because you’d be able to better utilize the space on the paper. Along with the standards my host student kept in her pencil case, she also had white-out handy.

Classroom technology was up to date. Desktop computers and projectors were in every room, and the students themselves had textbooks. Though upon inspection, their textbooks seem smaller than ours. I am jealous. White boards were also very common. During a math class, the teacher had every Expo marker stationed between her fingers, readily poised to draw another figure.

Their note-taking abilities are outstandingly comprehensive (if I could fluently read French). They are organized and polished, without a seemingly rushed script or cluster of cross-outs. This is probably due to their amazing notepaper and overall French allure.


ML@FLCC France 2015 Flickr Photo Gallery

I would, however, like to point out the student-teacher relationship, which I got a first hand look at. Now, this may be some parts culture and some parts personal character, and I can’t exactly say how much of each, or either, is involved. I digress, and on with the story. It was Thursday night, after our farewell dinner. My host student couldn’t come because of illness, so one of the professors (whose son is also involved in the program) was going to drive me home. As we were talking down the street, towards wherever the car was, a group of the professor’s students appeared and talked with her. This particular professor taught college level classes at the high school, so I’m guessing her students were anywhere from seventeen to nineteen, respectively. They were very friendly and very clearly tipsy. They were on their way to a party, and invited all of us to come drink with them. I politely, and adamantly, declined. A couple of students next to me shared a joint. While I was a tad bit shocked (it was a weekday, after all), the professor didn’t even seem phased. She laughed and talked with them, and explained what they were saying when I looked utterly confused (I’m not the brightest language scholar). It was explained to me afterwards that Thursdays were the usual party nights for students. It would be their last night at university before heading home on Friday for the weekend. That does indeed make sense. Though it would suck to be plastered come Friday morning for class.

Emma (Reno) Bondi
LEAF Contributor