The end of an era

When we moved here in 2005, I started off not working. That was nice. I found ways of filling my time, including writing a novel (which hasn’t been published) but after a while – although Mr FD was working in London, (communting back and forth, one week in London, one week in France) and earning a good salary – I thought I should try to find work.

The Chambre de Commerce et Industrie (CCI) in Roanne had an education department, where workers could apply to take language classes, and so I contacted them to see if there was any work. I was interviewed, and told that there wasn’t much work, but they would let me know. A few months later I was contacted by a family who wanted English lessons for their 10 year old son, and 8 year old daughter. They’d asked at the CCI if they gave English lessons to young people, and, although the answer to that was no, the Director remembered that I had experience with young people so put the family in touch with me.

From that one family, I gained other students ( de la bouche à l’oreille, as they say in France – word of mouth) as friends of the Verchere family mentioned that Pierre Damien, or Emeline, was speaking good English in school.

Well, on Wednesday, I had my last lesson with Clément, the youngest child in the family. He is taking his Bac next week, and then planning on training to be an air steward. The family gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers:

It is absolutely gorgeous, with roses and peonies and other lovely blooms. Unfortunately our cats have a nasty habit of eating plants, and despite keeping it in its cellophane, the leaves were getting nibbled. So we passed it on to Louis and Odette to enjoy.

However, more precious than the flowers is the card that they gave me. With a photo of the three of them on the front:

they wrote a lovely message (I shall ignore the English faults!)

Dear Alison,

14 years! 14 years that every Wednesday afternoons, a lovely English woman visits us with her big bag full of papers, books and notebooks of all kinds. From the first day we met you, we believed in you, and in the progress we could make. We immediately develop a special feeling for you, for your adorable accent and your contagious good mood.

We talked, we laughed, we confided in you and we learned by your side, that’s why you’re now part of our family.

Thanks to you, we speak English well, and so we are very proud! We will miss you a lot, we thank you very much for everything you have given us and for your devotion.

We love you, we wish you all the best and we look forward to seeing you one day.

All the best,

Pierre-Damien, Emeline and Clément Verchere.

When I read it I cried! I shall certainly miss teaching them, as all three were serious and motivated students. Pierre-Damien is heading into his 4th year of medical studies, Emeline into her second year focussing on tourism, and, as I said, Clément plans on becoming an air steward.

I still have three young men to teach who are going into their last year at Lycée in September, plus another who will be going to Lycée next year – so next June I’ll be losing THREE students!!!!! I hope that there’ll be a bit of de la bouch à l’oreille-ing going on, as otherwise I’ll have practically no-one to teach in September 2020!

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5 thoughts on “The end of an era

  1. Whew! So glad to start reading and realize that the flowers are in appreciation and the era ending is young people moving on, not a death!

  2. Oh WHAT a lovely message to receive and those beautiful flowers! I am sad that you will be losing them but what an amazing tribute to your influence in their life!!

  3. How lovely to have taught all three siblings and to see them grow into fine young adults. Your work has been rewarded. I used to teach in further education. One year I taught a young man of 16 for A level and his grandma of 82 joined my English GCSE evening class! Happy days. He is now a professor of Music at a University. Gosh, makes me feel very, very old!!

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