An easy day. Amiens Xmas market for all and then the students were at their leisure. The ‘Professor’ (AKA known as Greg) and I did do our own thing and went to the Jules Verne museum which was fascinating. We didn’t realize how many books and stories he had written. Greg and I also tried the Picardy Museum but it was closed. Some of us did try to attend Mass at 9.00 am in Amiens Cathedral, but I got the days/ times wrong. It was still impressive, though no one found John the Baptist’s head!!
Lundi – le Ecole or Lycee la Providence
Today was school visit day at La Province school. Just some quick facts: 2000 + students: age range from 2 to 22 as they also have a post graduate college: 7 acres of grounds: concert hall for 1000+:swimming pool (in need of repair).
School of President Macron ( and no, none of the boys met an Art teacher!!!)
But the cultural difference was what amazed our students. School day runs from 8.00 a.m. until 6.00 p.m. I have seen so many jaws agape, saying ‘what’. But then they found out that after every 6 weeks they got 2 weeks holiday. The school has boarders, some of whom come from Paris and other areas and board Monday to Friday then return home. The students have classes for 8 hours a day, and at Senior level, the class we met, they choice either Science, Economics or Literature strands.
Other differences? Senior students have their own smoking areas. Only in France 🇫🇷 ! They either go home for their nearly 2 hour lunch, or get lunch free in the canteen. 3 to 4 courses. And Greg was fascinated by the fact that the canteen had a conveyor belt to take the trays and dirty plates away.
For teachers. Poor pay. A senior teacher gets about the same as a graduate in Victoria. Ongoing PD ( 😫😫😫), which means they may be at school until 9.00 p.m.!! But lunch is long, in a separate dining room and wine is provided. Will that catch on at BSC??
It was a great day. We went into an English class, comprising students of the same age as ours. We presented 2 videos, and thanks to Greg for staying up all night preparing one, and they did presentations on their school and Amiens. Both sets of students were very nervous, as can be expected. However, after the distribution of our ‘Lillie’s’, and the tour of the school, the students did start to interact. It was great to see. And, surprisingly, we found a student in the class who loves Vegemite. I am not sure how his classmates felt about it though!
It was a real eye opener for our students. We were warmly received and the hospitality and generosity of the students and their staff was fantastic.
Following discussions with the school, ongoing communication will occur regarding exchange visits, hosting French students here and, possibly, should another tour take place, home stays in Amiens with families of La Providence students.
Our sincere thanks to Madame Welch ( an Irish lady teaching English in a French private school!) who was the most gracious of hosts, as were her colleagues. Also to Madame Herbert, Principal of Middle School, who, despite speaking little English, clearly demonstrated a great enthusiasm for developing an ongoing relationship between our 2 schools. And finally, but most importantly, to the students of both schools.
PS Don’t be surprised if you child/ward (initially) returns and says ‘I want to learn French and go to school there’!!