One of the greatest aspects of my 30 year teaching career is the fact it had a past. A past before the present, freedom before the measurement, fun before the fury, success before the failure, joy before the jaundice. The point is, that past carried me through my recent present, though that too is quickly becoming…….you get the gist.
Of the many experiences that fulfilled me throughout the better part of my career – for which teaching in the classroom [when it went well] will always be the consistent highlight – was being involved in running the French Exchange for my school for nine years. I didn’t then and do not now speak a word of French, so that in itself is significant, but a colleague and I would naturally always be accompanied by someone who could. This colleague and good friend, Tim Arnold, was the local Adviser for Media Education, and a core element of our exchange with a fellow school in Caen was to produce a bilingual newspaper by our exchanging English and French students here at the Devon County Show and in France at the Foire de Caen. There is much I could say on and illustrate about this, but I won’t now, apart from a comment on what a brilliant educational experience it always was for all involved.
My reason for posting this – apart from celebrating its positive impact on an early[ish] part of my teaching life – is because I recently came across a photo of my sitting for the French cartoonist Emmanuel Chaunu at the Foire de Caen so that he could produce a caricature of me. I am posting both here: the caricature that includes an American football and helmet [not entirely sure about the running bird!] as a reference to my nationality, and the photo where Emmanuel, looking to the camera, has clearing said something hilarious about me as everyone is clearing guffawing in response to this and at my expense. I really should have learned some French….