Anatole France

School was uneventful. I told my homeroom teacher that I occasionally suffered from migraines and had therefore missed school the previous day. She didn’t seem to care much and handed me a short list of catch-up assignments. I would have to go to the library but that was fine with me.
The clock in my homeroom where I had French first was usually three minutes fast. I watched the minute hand and caught it moving occasionally. My French teacher labored to convey an overview of social realism in French literature to an uninterested class with a limited vocab. I took the occasion to successfully bring out some marginal knowledge about Anatole France to compensate for my absence the previous day. Something like: “La majestueuse égalité des lois qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues et de voler du pain. “ Another pet writer of my real mother. “Les dieux ont soif.” Seemed important to my mother for me to know that Louis Aragon considered Anatole France a pseudo-left intellectual. I didn’t add this, keeping the balance between the well read student and the know-it-all a teacher would feel threatened by. Ms. Weinert beamed at me and forgot asking about a written excuse for my absence. My physics teacher was equally pleased when I asked a couple of questions about electromagnetic fields. As I said, it was an uneventful day at school and I was relieved when we were dismissed.

2 thoughts on “Anatole France

  1. I loved French class as a child. I could actually pronounce it better than I understood it, if that makes sense. I would never want to be a teacher. It’s an admirable profession, but I’m just not willing to give so much of my time and energy to strangers, and have nothing left when I came home.

    • Some of my work is teaching – and it can be wildly rewarding and wildly frustrating depending on the day. You need a great amount of confidence that there is something that you have to share and that by being in your class students might take a seed of that “something” home that might start growing when time is right. Maybe many years later when you are not even aware of it. A little while ago I heard that my old English teacher had died and I felt a great sadness that I had never taken the time to let him know how his efforts and work had enabled me to become the person I am – navigating two cultures, lives and worlds.
      I love your feed-back!

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