Vive la Rentree

Another school year has started and we’ve got off to a flying start. I’ve only had to drive the eldest to lycee on eight out of ten possible occasions. This was due to bus drivers striking in support of teachers (Monday), bus drivers striking about pension reform (Tuesday), the vie scolaire (school office) being unable to inform us of the bus timetable (Wednesday) and the daughter oversleeping (Thursday). On Friday it all worked out and she took the by now, mythical bus. However, to get her to the bus stop in time, small son has to be dropped at the garderie at 7.25 am and collected at 6.45 pm. This is rather a long day for an eight year old so you would think that his teacher would cut the kids, many of whom have older siblings and undergo the same routine, some slack. But hey, this is France where the teacher is always right and the children are just there to be scolded, humiliated and bullied.

The small son arrived home after the first day with the usual mound of paperwork to be filled in and completed, in triplicate. Why they can’t keep this stuff on file defeats me. Every year it’s the same; I have to write the same phone numbers and addresses on multiple pieces of paper, all of which go back to the same school office. The French addiction to paperwork beggars belief. The rest of the world is busy scanning, emailing and recording information online. The French are doing their bit to keep Lever arch files in business.

So I filled it all in on the Thursday evening, popped it in his folder as requested and was rather pissed off when he returned in floods of tears on Friday. He’d been told off because it wasn’t there.... And obviously he must have lost it or forgotten to bring it in because, after all, the teacher is always right.

I wrote a note which went back to school with him on Monday, ‘explaining’ that the paperwork must have been mislaid at school as I had personally placed it in the folder. I’ve heard no more, so I presume the fairies must have returned it to the school secretary....

Mme La Maitresse wreaked her revenge by punishing the small son on Tuesday. He was kept in at playtime for ‘messy’ work. He’s an eight year old boy, doing a twelve hour day for goodness sake! He needs to spend time running around pretending to be a fighter jet. In any case, more play and less copying by rote, wouldn’t do him or the rest of the class, any harm - countries where kids start school significantly later, get significantly better results. But hey, this is France and Mme La Maitresse is always right......

We have one doing her final year of primary. At that age they appear to be so unbelievably competitive that to have the wrong colour rubber is pretty close to the line, let alone more obvious things. One problem is that despite the pile of paper sent out by every supermarket, Gifi, Fly, etc, there are already shortages of some things, so the shopping trips are now not a one shop affair at all and may even become several runs at it.

Our older daughter starts college. Problem: there appears to be nobody there yet. So until some kind of administrator shows up, because she is new, we go close to the line before we get the list. No doubt that means that the shortages will be even worse.

Here, it is 3 September for both at least, just a little longer to stave off the paperwork :-(

The paperwork is so annoying, we have to fill it in every year for school, the garderie, the gymnastic club and like you say -they’ve already had it 4 years running for both kids.
I too find the day so long for little ones, we all have to be out of the house for 8.10am and we’re not back before 5 in the evening. They have also cancelled sieste for MS so it is a complete race to get the 3yr old into bed before he falls asleep in his dinner and we are only 10 mins walk from school I dread to think what it will be like when they get older.