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Saturday, May 29, 2010

The conseil de classe. Find out what the teachers DON’T tell you!

Dear Readers,

If this is your first year of experience of the French schooling system and you’re not brain-dead yet, I would personally like to congratulate you. Well done, you’ve done it! It’s the end of the year!
Yes, the end of the year is forever nearing closer as we move into June and this means that the teachers will be having a meeting called the “Conseil de classe” (Class council) which is made up of your year head, class tutor and principle. All of these, plus your other teachers from all of the subjects will have an input into the verdict at the end of the term on whether you’ll be going into next year or not. There are, however, some things worth knowing that the teachers don’t tell you!

1. They might try to make you repeat
This is something to be wary of. The teachers can have the tendency just to go ahead with this things, regardless of your results “because you’re a foreign student”. Cruel, but so very unfortunately true! You mustn’t fall for this straight away. There are a couple of things to take into account first. Firstly, you should not repeat the year if your moyenne generale is higher than 10. Especially in collège. There are (and this is a fact) French students who go through to the following year with moyennes of 10 and foreign students who get kept back even if they have the same result. They’ll try to make it sound as if it will be “hell on earth the next year” and “that you must repeat because you won’t be capable” but really, if your moyenne generale is higher than 10, get out the cotton-wool!

2. Retiring teachers can help!
Ok, ok, I know this sounds silly but you’ll need all the help you can get. All of your teachers get a form in the shape of a table. What they must do is tick the “Yes” or “No” box as to whether you go through to the following year. If they want you to go through then they’ll tick “Yes” and vice versa. Retiring teachers, if they’re nice, can help you out by giving you a “Yes”. This was my case a couple of years ago. The week before the conseil de classe, my teacher who was retiring that year, approached me after class and asked would I like to go through to the following year. I said yes and she said that she would support that decision and try to make it like her “final act” in her schooling life, to get me what I wanted. But you have to have been well behaved during the year… That could help more!

3. Things to bear in mind before you go running off to repeat
Bear in mind that if you are in 2nde this year and you’re thinking about repeating, that there is the réforme du lycée next year. This means that you won’t be doing exactly the same things you did this year and you may not even have the same books! No-one knows! Even the teachers!

4. What the teachers never mention
The teachers will try to make you repeat and they will say that it will be too hard. Don't fall for it! In an interview with a French teacher, she said casually, that "we repeat all foreign students once they get to 3ème before going onto 2nde". So it's a cycle that they have in place and you should know by now what the French are like with their Administration departments etc.

I hope this advice has been helpful. I understand some of this may seem a little racist towards the French on my part, but I’m not. My best friend is French. It’s just the truth! Please leave your questions (and/or criticism!)  in the comments box below. You don’t need an account and you don’t need to log in. Just click on the text saying the number of comments, write your comment and press “Post Comment”.

Article by The Editor

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