Lesson 51 The Last class…

In the course I am following now at the CEGEP du Vieux Montréal, we have two different teachers teaching us French. In the morning, we have Dick who is teaching us grammar; Julie, in the afternoon, is teaching us spoken French and supervises daily practices.

Obviously, Dick must have a lot more experience in teaching to immigrants because the method being used in Quebec to teach French requires that the teacher should and must speak French only in the class. Dick cannot and would not use any other language except French like, for instance, English or Spanish to explain to the students what he really means.

So it requires a lot of efforts from the teacher to find original and dynamic ways to communicate and explain things by using very simple words or plain body language. Dick is excellent at that! All the examples he uses are very easy to comprehend and they are always funny; interesting and right to the point. Believe me, you don’t really feel the time flying by when you attend one of his classes…

Well, talking about Julie, our spoken French practice teacher, is another story. She is very nice, modern, beautiful, smily, speaking perfect French, but I could not understand… She kept talking and talking a lot in the class without really caring whether we could understand what she means. Or maybe she doesn’t know how to make us understand her…

So it is more difficult to spend time in her class. So much so, in fact, that some people lost interest and have chosen to not attend her class any more. They come to take the morning class with Dick, and then they leave.

But this afternoon was her last class with us, because tomorrow morning we will have a test and it will be the end of our first session. Thinking about it, I wondered about what would happen? Would there be only you and I sitting there?

To my big surprise, all of the students appeared except three women, two Chinese and one Vietnamese. The reason for them not appearing was that they wanted to prepare for the exam tomorrow. Obviously it was not a good reason and, to put it bluntly, it was not really nice.

Unexpectedly, the final class was very interesting. We worked in groups, the interactions between the teacher and the students was very good and after the class the students stood up and said “Thank you !” in French to Julie.

On my way back home, I was thinking about the fact that it was not really nice of the three women to choose to go home instead of appearing in the final class. It was a very selfish gesture and they were not grateful at all. I did not know how Julie would think about it but I was shamed because two out of the three were Chinese.

Before I joined this school, I had been told that the teachers there prefer to teach Chinese students much more than the ones from the other countries because they are much more diligent and respectful.

But there is something those teachers don’t know and it is that most of the Chinese people are also very realistic. They don’t really think about how the others feel, they only think about themselves. They are not interested in other people; they are only interested in themselves. In a nutshell, they take, but they don’t give. It is somehow a kind of selfishness deep in the Chinese’ character. Everything that comes to them is taken for granted. I want this, I want that, but don’t expect that I would feel grateful.

Which reminds me that there was another Chinese woman in our class before. But because she did not know anything about English or French, it was very difficult for her to catch up. A few classes after the beginning of the session, the teacher realized it. He was kind enough to arrange for a transfer for her to another school which is teaching at a slower pace so she could be able to keep up with the group.

Dick even asked a Chinese person to write a letter to her, a hand-written letter in Chinese explaining to her why she needed to transfer to another school. That letter said that it was not a punishment and that it was all for her good. Because she came here to learn French, not to make Chinese friends. And if she could not keep up with the other students, she needed to find another place which would be easier on her.

But when Dick tried to present her the letter, she covered it with her hands, not allowing the others to read it for her. She cried and shouted, shaking her head “No! I don’t want to read that letter. I refuse to read it… “She also shouted, “I don’t want to leave, I want to stay here. I just want to know what you could do to me! I have the right to stay here. If you can transfer me to another school, you can also transfer me back. If you push me to leave, I will complain to your government. If you push me too much, I will refuse to learn French!”

Of course, she could not express herself in English, she just asked us, Chinese people standing around her, “Tell them this… tell them that.” We translated it for her to the secretary.

The secretary was very confused because she didn’t understand why this Chinese woman was refusing the transfer so harshly, which very obviously made everybody unhappy. After all, it was not a big deal. Well, she didn’t understand…

But for the Chinese woman, it was not because she didn’t want to leave her friends, it was because she didn’t want to be treated as a loser. She was afraid of losing face… Ahhh, losing face, which is the last thing a Chinese person wants to do. Right?

Somehow we felt that this was really funny, because that Chinese woman didn’t pay for anything in order to learn French here. Instead of paying to learn the new language, all immigrants to Quebec are generously paid by the government to learn it. Yes, you read it right : the Quebec government is paying tuition, transportation fees and a modest salary to all immigrants who wish to learn French!

And that woman still believed that everybody was begging her to learn French? That every one should meet her needs; that she was the center of the world? Because she was unhappy about the transfer, she would feel free to complain and refuse to do this or that… Which was really ridiculous. And she is more than 40 years old! Normally, at this age, she should know better…

Finally, another Chinese woman offered to accompany her to go to the new school. But because she was so angry with the teacher, the shouting woman refused to enter into the class again. She was standing in the corridor while the other one who was going to accompany her helped to package her things and bag, which was… again, really unacceptable for me. Too childish and quite pretentious.

Anyway! I don’t understand these Chinese people; seems that in our school nobody taught them how to behave. That woman was a queen in China, so she believed that she still was a queen here in Canada. Everybody should serve her. It was really… what can I say?

Today Jose asked me, “Do you like your Chinese new friends in the class?”

I thought for a while, “Some are Ok, but some… I don’t really want to give them my cell phone number.”

Jose said, “Oh, that talks a lot.”


01/11/2012 21:05 分类: 评论(0) 阅读()


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