||[avr. 6e, 2005|11:55 am]
julia (lj name: gules) already did a good assesment of the situation here this morning, but it's so fucking ridiculous it merits a second go around. today, first day of the last days of my france, happened as follows:|
our story begins last night, with brian making a half assed attempt at making a lesson plan. this involving checking my lj, email, and shopping for cds on amazon.fr. i was just about to get to the actual work part of my existence when julia throws me a texto saying that there is 'action', or 'blocking the school,' planned for tomorrow, and that likely we will not have classes. bon, that takes care of all my worries. i decide to plan nothing, and go to bed, and see how things work out tomorrow.
so i wake up early, 8 oclock for a 10 oclock class, idea being that i could pull a lesson out of my ass in the hour before class. sadly, i am sitting looking out the window and all appears normal. the window in our kitchen looks out on the main courtyard. there were the normal number of students outside, as well as all the cars of the administration and all that who apparently were able to enter no problem (you'll remember they blocked this a couple weeks back). a little disappointed, for i had no lesson and it appeared i would now need one, i get ready to hump off to the salle des professeurs to whip up a lesson.
except that i get downstairs, and there is a fifteen foot tangle of chairs and tables, floor to ceiling, piled up in front of the doors to the building (that is, the building i LIVE IN). my first reaction = wtf???? i then see rudy, one of my kinder students, and i ask him to let me out. he says he thinks he could work out leaving with his cohorts, but i wouldn't be allowed back in. at this point i am pissed off- this is the crowning glory, the cherry on top of the france strike story i've been living for a year. i leave that scene, and try all other doors to the building, all entrances and nooks and crannies. all barricaded.
so i went back up to apprise the others of the situation, and we meditated for a while on how much we hate the students. we eventually worked out a thing with one nice guard at the smallest entrance, and he said we could come and go through that door- not, of course, without UN negociations at each impasse. so fucking ridiculous. the high school was officially shut down, all courses suspended. the best part? depending on who you talk to, this could last until monday, or until next friday. these kids are bunkered down, and they are going to stay as long as they can defend against outside invaders. they ripped off all the handles on the doors, so they can only be opened from the inside. i dont know what will happen when they change the guard who lets us through.
this is shitty for several reasons. not the least of which being that, myself included, there are about 10 people who LIVE in this building. we LIVE here, and they are cutting us very little slack. allez vous faire, you fucking fifteen year old punks! but fine, that's a small inconvenience which i'm sure i will get used to. more importantly, though, and this has to deal with the fact that they are really nothing but fifteen year old punks, is that this is POINTLESS. one, the law is passed, the law they hate and are trying to demonstrate against. done deal, it won't be repealed. ok, fine, you're not content, and you have the right to show it. but the kids doing this are a cadre of teenage boys, young ones at that, who by most accounts number around 50, but up to 80 on the more optimistic counts. even with the overly optimistic figure of 80 students comprising this little cabal of rabble rousers, that is 3.2 percent of the student body here. hardly a majority, but because of this the rest of the student population is forced to go on strike, more or less, against their will. this is especially a problem with the students who have to take the bac tests at the end of this year, the stringent national exams in france. their practice tests were today, and they were not able to take them. they, the older and more advanced students who got shortchanged today, are unanimously against this action. they cannot but go along with it, however. the perps, however, are young, and generally are those students who are in the professional tracks because they did not invest themselves in their education (it is my experience that they are not dumb). funny that the ones who don't actually care enough about school to do homework, or pay attention, or even be civil to their teachers, are fighting against education reforms. you wanna protest these reforms, show how you care about education? how about doing homework? being an active participant in your education? a large part of the reforms involves lowering the standards so that the students who are always failing the bac, ie the students now blockading the school, can actually pass them and have a degree. i doubt they appreciate the irony. also, unlike last time(s), they have made no effort to contact the press, nor get any 'message' out there. this is a bunch of boys playing 'fort', a suburban lord of the flies. in fact, they have never made any explicit declaration of why they did this; we are left to infer. it is a bunch of students who fixated on an idea, that this law is bad, and who have outgrown any viable messages they had and is snowballing out of control. i am so done with this.
and so i am stuck in the B building of le Dantec, which overexcited teenage boys continue to dominate by force, antagonizing the administration, their fellow students, us. this is not any way to send a message, guys. and ps, let the mailman through, because i fucking want my antony and the johnsons cd before i leave france.
in the immortal words of julia,
france, va te faire foutre.