Tuesday, 11 December 2012

It Could Be You

After yesterday's debacle of a mix-up - the less said about that, the better - today has been a day full of excellence. I didn't spend it in Paris, which is always a bit of a boo, but I did spend it chatting away in French and debating the relative merits of doing things with my new office. Some really exciting plans, but unfortunately it means hitting my brother up for another favour. At this rate I shall need to translate an entire book to square us up.
I posted my postcards yesterday; with any luck a couple of people will be receiving extremely short missives from me before long. Everyone else, I'm writing letters, when I'm not writing blogs. I prefer letters, but the advantage of the blog is that people can read it. My handwriting, on the other hand, requires a Rosetta stone and a sympathetic attitude before it can be decoded. Regardless; I am writing letters, and they should be posted soon.
The nights are drawing in here, although I'm sure they've been drawing in an awful lot quicker back at home. We are drawing towards the end of the year; ten days from the longest day, twenty from the end of the year, two weeks exactly from the second most talked about child this month. The number of column inches that Jesus and our future monarch will get over the next fortnight will, I imagine, be very similar. Fantastic.
My day has not been without its low points; my morning was mostly taken up by putting letters into envelopes. It's not rocket science, agreed, and had I the chance I would rather be learning something new, but it does have a certain pleasing rhythm to it. Open envelope. Insert papers. Rip tab. Close envelope. Seal. Add to stack that you have let grow ominously high. Feel Death's fingers brush your heart as the stack wavers...
Oh yes. I flirt with Death, and not in a romantic way. I neg Death right in her face. I tell her she's got a nice grin because it takes away the emphasis from her dark, empty eyes. When I dance with Death, I lead. Sometimes I eat chicken when I'm not even certain it's cooked.
Only sometimes though. I've heard it's actually quite bad for you.

In any case; back to my class this evening. We played a couple of games we've played before; Who Am I (this week's famous characters were Newton, Buddha, Bridget Jones and Benjamin Button) and Questions, the game from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and enacted here by the jealousy-inducingly talented Tim Roth and Gary Oldman :


I won, but I freely confess that I won mostly by cheating. I cheated by being English and very tricky, and using most of the ploys in the video above. If you would like to play at home, you must first invent the universe. After that, no rhetoric, hesitation, non sequiturs, repetition, or statements. Very simple to master, nearly impossible to play without tearing your hair out from the roots or reverting to baby-speak.
To finish up, we played Taboo, but with an added twist - the original word was in French. This put all of us at an advantage; my students because they had to read a French word and communicate their French thoughts into English with a limited vocabulary, and me because it turns out there are a whole load of French words that I don't know, which rather negated any benefit my modest vocabulary might bring. It was great fun though, and I hardly had to send anyone to the naughty chair.
The naughty chair is an idea my mother appropriated from Supernanny and I have applied to my students; anyone who speaks French sits in the naughty chair for a minute. It has simultaneously massively reduced French spoken in class and turned my students into jackals, willing to bait and trick their friends into speaking French so that they can then tell on them. Call me Dr Frank.

Next week will be our final week, and I'm really excited because I'm planning on doing a murder mystery style lesson. They're going to be emailed a description of their character, and then over the course of the lesson the mystery will unfold. They'll be allowed to ask each other questions, and the murderer will have to lie. However, the other characters may well have their own secrets, and since they are already more than willing to push each other under the bus next week should see some blood-letting at the very least. If you have some ideas for characters with shady pasts and interesting developments, I'd be really appreciative if you left me a comment. 

Otherwise, I'll be at my typewriter, while lightning flashes and clichés pound on the door like a traveller lost in the storm.