It’s now all over (apart from the plane journey!)
I hope it has been a great experience for the students. From what they said tonight, I think it has been.
They have developed a greater awareness of Australian soldiers in WW1, and, hopefully, an understanding of the sacrifices they made. This was especially brought home to them when they saw headstones of 15 & 16 year olds, their age, who died doing what they thought was the ‘right thing’ to do. Perhaps now they will realize how lucky they are.
All students have displayed an enormous amount of respect to their peers, when they read their piece, and also generally to the deceased. And we have the Clancy cousins as grave whisperers.
I also feel that they gained a greater understanding of the D Day invasion, and the impact of that on world history. They may not have fully understood my explanations regarding the east and west front, but I think they got some idea of the West v East race for Berlin and the consequences of that.
Just as important is the simple fact that they have been forced out of their normal comfort zones. Sienna did mention this before we left but, I think even she did not realize how dramatic it would be. Not just the graves and memorials, but also the new cultures, languages, food, customs and, particularly, the crowds. Not only on the streets, but also on the London tube and Paris Metro. And the shopping . Can’t forget that as it is different in Europe. The Xmas markets were a particular favorite, in both Amiens and Paris. Just a shame that only Ebony and I found the Maple Syrup biscuits!
They will return home different people. Most of them now want return to study, in either the UK or France. Some want to return and live here – UK or Europe. Their eyes and hearts have been opened. Long may it continue. Go for it guys!!
And today we got back to central Paris. Troubles all over and everything was open. A Metro to Lafayette, where I got the opening times wrong!! Entry at 11 to see the Xmas tree, go on the roof for some amazing views of Paris, then some shopping! A walk, again in the rain, to Fauchon, where they were treated to a ‘cake’, then a further walk in the rain. Finally we got to Place de Concord and Rue de Rivoli on our way to the Louvre. The Xmas market was on as well. They were somewhat interested in going to that.
But, finally, we got to the Louvre.
Unfortunately, they only had an hour and a half to explore. Probably about the 20th of the time you need! And most saw the Mona Lisa.
I feel the impact of the tour on the students came from a comment by Jared tonight. To paraphrase it was
I normally don’t like Art sir, but I really enjoyed the Louvre.
I think that says something about the tour and it’s purpose.
They did get to the Xmas market, and beware funny Russian hats on their return! Then a quick Metro journey and a ‘slap up’ final dinner in a nearby restaurant.
I will post again to give my highlights of the tour. Not many ‘downs’, apart from looking after 17 students and the rain. We have suffered from it on a number of days.
As parents/carers, you should be both proud of your students and be aware they may be different when they get home on Tuesday night. When the ‘church mouse’ Takara says ‘ I don’t want to go home but just stay in Paris’ you can all be aware that nearly all of your wards/ children may feel the same. Watch out!!
May I again thank all those who have been involved in and supported the tour. From students families, to my family, the school and wider community, Bill Coppinger for his amazing work on our media platforms, Ms McKernan for playing mother to 14 teenage girls but, most importantly, to the students. They have behaved impeccably, even if they sometimes can’t follow instructions and are unaware of other people on crowded streets. And they were a bit slow on the uptake on checking crossings in Europe!!
Otherwise they have been fantastic! They put up with Mr Grumpy for 17 days and that is an achievement it itself!!
…and one last thing!
Just as a final fun thing, after interacting and observing the students, what follows is a fun set of nicknames for each student, with a little explanation!
- Greg – The Professor, because he won’t stop reading stuff and he is always last to leave any museum
- Ella – Le Belle Époque – because she fell in love with Paris
- Matt – the ‘Ice Man ‘ because he never seems to wear any warm clothing
- Jared – the frugalist because he survives on nothing
- Alyssa – Miss Clumsy because she keeps tripping over and can’t sort the mechanics of a bus arm rest out
- Abbey – Miss Cool – because she is
- Darcie – Miss Manic – because she is
- Grace – a ‘gannet. An old English term for someone who eats a lot
- Shelby – the Royalist. Don’t expect her to vote for a Republic! Or she could also be just Miss Mama Mia
- Takara – the ‘church mouse’. Very quiet then says she wants to stay in Paris and not go home
- Caitlyn – the Phoenix – she has arisen
- Tyra – the Snapper – I have never seen anyone take so many photos. I hope she had the lens cap off!
- Erin – the scout because she can read ‘real’ maps
- Peri – the ‘gamer’, because, no matter where we were, she just kept playing games on her phone
- Ebony – either Miss Nice, because she was to everyone, or the trier, because she made a real attempt at the languages
- Sienna– the questioner- enough said
- Natalie – the snake – silent but then deadly with a humorous , and relevant, comment
- Ms McKernan – Florence Nightingale
- Mr D – just grumpy will do