French teacher

Share your memories and stories from your days at school, and find out the truth behind the rumours....Remember the teachers and pupils, tell us who you remember and why...

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CHAZ
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Re: French teacher

Post by CHAZ » Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:07 pm

Ah encore une francophile. Chouette

Jo I agree the 20C French lit isn't a patch on 17-19. Did you read any Stendhal at uni and what of that drunkard...Gargantua from Rabelais?

I guess none of these literary works are bedside reading now!

Just for the anecdote and not to shock but at the University of North carolina contemporary literature had the misfortune of being titled CLIT and so if you were looking to sign up for a course on early contemporary lit it was CLIT 21!

My apologies :oops:
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Re: French teacher

Post by michael scuffil » Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:39 am

There was a man called Reggie Dean. Ron Lorimer once told me It was the test of a new master's perceptiveness that he knew at the end of his first year who Reggie Dean actually was. He lived in Horsham and cycled in daily, having his morning coffee at the Massens. Double lessons were always interrupted for his cigarette in the corridor, when he would gossip with Rev. Lloyd Whitfeld, who had the room next door. Reggie had a habit of referring to other masters by their nicknames, and eccentically didn't think much of Shakesepeare because what allegedly happened on stage didn't really happen (e.g. actors didn't have their eyes put out. etc.). He contrasted this unfavourably with Corneille, Racine etc. (where of course nothing happens on stage). His handwriting was by far the best of any member of the teaching staff. And his lessons were actually quite fun.

Then there was Pongo Littlefield, who I believe taught something resembling French when he could spare the time from his sadistic pleasures.

I should put in a good word for Morton Peto. I was in his set 3 in the first year, and came 2nd in the exam, beating all the posh kids who had already had French in their prep schools.
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Jo
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Re: French teacher

Post by Jo » Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:53 pm

CHAZ wrote:Ah encore une francophile. Chouette

Jo I agree the 20C French lit isn't a patch on 17-19. Did you read any Stendhal at uni and what of that drunkard...Gargantua from Rabelais?
Well, it's a very long time ago and I've forgotten almost everything now :) . Didn't read any Stendhal, but yes Rabelais definitely. I particularly remember Le Tiers Livre. Our Head of Dept/Prof at UCL was one of the world's Rabelais experts - his commentaries are probably still read - Professor Michael Screech. I even went to a Rabelais lecture at a French uni during my year in France, and the lecturer was quoting Screech.

Loved the Renaissance period, and my special paper in the final year was on Montaigne.

Where did you go to uni?
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CHAZ
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Re: French teacher

Post by CHAZ » Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:13 pm

I particularly remember Le Tiers Livre. Our Head of Dept/Prof at UCL was one of the world's Rabelais experts - his commentaries are probably still read - Professor Michael Screech. I even went to a Rabelais lecture at a French uni during my year in France, and the lecturer was quoting Screech.

WOW WOW WOW :shock: :shock:

This is a most amazing coincidence! Prof Michael Screech came to the University of North Carolina on a year secondement and I was taught Rabelais by him. Must have been 1988-1989. There were only two of us in the course so we had the 3 hour lecture in his study and had one term paper to write. My editions of Le Tiers Livre + Le Quart Livre have Prefaces written by MS.

The world is a small one, Jo...

Thîs coincidence made my day!! :D
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Re: French teacher

Post by CHAZ » Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:15 pm

I should put in a good word for Morton Peto. I was in his set 3 in the first year, and came 2nd in the exam, beating all the posh kids who had already had French in their prep schools.[/quote]


I had Morten peto as a 3rd form squit in 1978 so he certainly put the years in. He got me into Set 2 french as an LE and then I had Louis Bardou for two years and took O level early. Morten must have done over 30 years teaching....?
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Re: French teacher

Post by michael scuffil » Thu Aug 07, 2008 6:22 pm

Actually the most feared French teacher in our day was A.L.Johnstone, known as Stine, who had a really filthy temper. By the time you got to the Deps it became possible, with effort, to detect a well-hidden sense of humour. He once remarked: "When I'm not sure about a point of French grammar, I go and ask Mr Rider, then I go and ask Mr Dean, and then I have the casting vote."

We used to amuse ourselves in his lessons by counting the number of times he used the phrases "as it were" and "common or garden".

He had ginger hair and a red face. He admitted that in his army pay-book, it said: "Complexion - ruddy." Said it annoyed him more than anything else in the army.

He was (perhaps surprisingly) ferociously anti cold baths.
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Re: French teacher

Post by Jo » Thu Aug 07, 2008 6:39 pm

CHAZ wrote:I particularly remember Le Tiers Livre. Our Head of Dept/Prof at UCL was one of the world's Rabelais experts - his commentaries are probably still read - Professor Michael Screech. I even went to a Rabelais lecture at a French uni during my year in France, and the lecturer was quoting Screech.

WOW WOW WOW :shock: :shock:

This is a most amazing coincidence! Prof Michael Screech came to the University of North Carolina on a year secondement and I was taught Rabelais by him. Must have been 1988-1989. There were only two of us in the course so we had the 3 hour lecture in his study and had one term paper to write. My editions of Le Tiers Livre + Le Quart Livre have Prefaces written by MS.

The world is a small one, Jo...

Thîs coincidence made my day!! :D
Glad to be of service :D

I believe Professor Screech is still going - he was about 50 when I was in my first or second year so he'd be over 80 by now. He left UCL and went to Oxford (in fact was probably seconded from Oxford when you knew him), and within the last few years was ordained, which surprised me very much.

Ooops, this is meant to be an old school board, not an old uni one........still, I enjoy conversations that go off topic and reveal interesting snippets.
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Re: French teacher

Post by CHAZ » Fri Aug 08, 2008 8:04 am

Jo, just to close on Michael Screech: He is 82 this year and is indeed a Revd which is an interesting conversion and I'm not sure how it happened

Anyway if we do meet at an OB day or soemthing, let's natter on our Rabelaisian heros: Gargantua and Panatgruel!

I think I've pretty much milked dry my memories of French teachers but took the thread on a bit more since it's creation and also brought in a contemporary, Vièr Blieu!!

I guess as I was a French teacher myelf for 4 years in an independant school, couldn't resist either.

Merci à tous et à bientôt sur d'autres sujets!
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Re: French teacher

Post by Vièr Bliu » Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:00 pm

I was going through some papers today, and I actually found some old "Louis sheets" of vocab. So here's a sample:

un tourne-disques
un lampadaire
un lit
un drap
une couverture
un oreiller
un traversin
un buffet
la vaisselle
une assiette creuse...

Nous portons un uniforme bleu foncé:
La grande tenue comprend:
le grand manteau bleu
le rabat
les chaussettes jaunes
la ceinture
la culotte...
la petite tenue (half housey)
Nous allons au réfectoire au pas accompagnés par la musique de la fanfare....

un pavillon
Nous dormons dans un dortoir.
Nous avons un matelas sur chaque lit -
mais il n'y a pas de sommier:
il y a des planches à la place...

And so on and so on (tell me if you want more - and yes, there'll be a test!)
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Re: French teacher

Post by CHAZ » Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:31 am

Vièr Bliu wrote:I was going through some papers today, and I actually found some old "Louis sheets" of vocab. So here's a sample:

un tourne-disques
un lampadaire
un lit
un drap
une couverture
un oreiller
un traversin
un buffet
la vaisselle
une assiette creuse...

Nous portons un uniforme bleu foncé:
La grande tenue comprend:
le grand manteau bleu
le rabat
les chaussettes jaunes
la ceinture
la culotte...
la petite tenue (half housey)
Nous allons au réfectoire au pas accompagnés par la musique de la fanfare....

un pavillon
Nous dormons dans un dortoir.
Nous avons un matelas sur chaque lit -
mais il n'y a pas de sommier:
il y a des planches à la place...

And so on and so on (tell me if you want more - and yes, there'll be a test!)

Wonderful that you found this Geraint. Those LB vocab tests were awesome and the only way to short circuit the O level oral andpicture story comprehension. I used to love the suspense as Louis handed back our cahiers avec un ..."Monsieur Forster...20 très bien"

Do you remember Jon Curd? Louis couldn't pronounce his name so it becake Monsieur Curt...

Lovely stuff and great memories. Some of the vocab we learnt then I have never used...moissoneuse batteuse?

Finally la culotte for breeches was probably alittle out given what it really means..panties!!!
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Re: French teacher

Post by Vièr Bliu » Fri Sep 12, 2008 1:42 pm

CHAZ wrote: Do you remember Jon Curd?
Remeber Josh well. We were together in No3 The Avenue during our 7th term.
CHAZ wrote:Some of the vocab we learnt then I have never used...moissoneuse batteuse?
une applique (a bracket-lamp)?

And here's a blast of "la quincaillerie" from the crumbling and torn sheets:

une bêche
une pelle
un marteau
un tourne-vis
une clef-anglaise
des tenailles
des pinces
des cisailles
une perceuse
une scie
une tondeuse à gazon
une brouette
des vis
des clous
des boulons
des serrures
des verrous
des cadenas

Honestly, I've recently written some sample GCSE MFL papers, and one would boggle at much of this stuff being expected to be known for exam purposes nowadays (although I refuse to use the words "dumbing down") .
Jé l'dithai acouo eune fais: séyiz heutheurs!
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Re: French teacher

Post by Ajarn Philip » Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:44 pm

I've posted this somewhere else, I think, but it bears repeating. A Louis vocab phrase from the early 70s (probably his first or second year at CH): 'dobbing around in the chocolate box' - I just wish I could remember the French translation!

Where is he now? I remember calling him a few years after I left, as I'd had to take a statement from a French seaman whose colleague had been decapitated in Dover harbour by a hawser that had spun out of control. There was one phrase that eluded me completely, and LB was completely unable to help...
I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiffsquiddled around

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CHAZ
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Re: French teacher

Post by CHAZ » Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:49 pm

[quote="Ajarn Philip"]I've posted this somewhere else, I think, but it bears repeating. A Louis vocab phrase from the early 70s (probably his first or second year at CH): 'dobbing around in the chocolate box' - I just wish I could remember the French translation!

I would say...."fouiller dans une boîte aux chocolats"
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Re: French teacher

Post by sejintenej » Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:02 pm

Vièr Bliu wrote:
CHAZ wrote:Some of the vocab we learnt then I have never used...moissoneuse batteuse?
une applique (a bracket-lamp)?
And here's a blast of "la quincaillerie" from the crumbling and torn sheets:

une bêche
une pelle
un marteau
un tourne-vis
une clef-anglaise
des tenailles
des pinces
des cisailles
une perceuse
une scie
une tondeuse à gazon
une brouette
des vis
des clous
des boulons
des serrures
des verrous
des cadenas

Honestly, I've recently written some sample GCSE MFL papers, and one would boggle at much of this stuff being expected to be known for exam purposes nowadays (although I refuse to use the words "dumbing down") .
I found in GCE O level exams there were many day-to-day French words which I had not come across; I still remember trying to work out what le rideau was and failing miserably. Adding to your list I would have added in des points, un seau and perhaps even une taloche; most of the words in your list are actually commonly used in a household setting.

It all comes down to the aim of the exercise; is French / whatever language taught in order that the pupil can comfortably live and thrive in the country concerned or is it to satisfy some higorant penpushing bureaucrat in OFSTED?
If it is the former then IMHO CH did not in my day, give me the knowledge and ability. Local schools in my childrens' days did not give them the knowledge and ability but 8 year old children in France have a reasonable working knowledge of oral English . Yes, I could write a decent letter but they didn't tell me how to start or end it - a very different manner to that in the UK - let alone speak a word. There was absolutely no mention of the langue d'oil (there should be an umlaut on that) which was closeish to Vier Blui's webpage wording and langue d'oc so I had no idea whatsoever that a knowledge of Spanish would be useful in France to understand the locals. I had a rude introduction to the "ang"s - the ending on words like champ (field*), demain (tomorrow) .... If OTOH it is to satisfy OFSTED then they are wasting pupil's valuable learning time.

* I thought my neighbour was talking about a large city in China!
It is hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.

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Re: French teacher

Post by michael scuffil » Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:46 pm

I will tell a story against myself and against CH (and Cambridge) French.

I was a Modern Language Grecian and got a State Scholarship and an Exhibition to Cambridge, where I read French and German for a year (2 i).

About three years later, not admittedly having used my French in the meantime, but rather concentrating on German, I was hitchhiking in a French-speaking country (presumably Belgium, it wasn't France), and was picked up by a lorry-driver. We chatted about this and that (in French), and he said he had a friend, an English lorry-driver, whom he regularly met on a particular lay-by.

"Il parle francais?" I asked.
"Oui monsieur, un peu, comme vous."
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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