Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bonjour y'all!

Since Saturday I have been released from my regular household duties that include but are not limited to shifting money around from various accounts in order to give my husband the impression that I am not spending gobs of money at Target every several days, constantly changing the location of the various Cadbury chocolate confections so that at any given time I am the only one who knows where, for example, a Fruit and Nut bar is, and of course, cooking up ways to embarrass Tween Thing in public, preferably within earshot of local junior high schoolers. The above-mentioned all consuming activities are currently on hold as I am fulfilling my role as AP French exam reader in Louisville, Ky. And I am loving it! Not only am I catching up with various trends in the profession and meeting interesting colleagues, I am also getting to pal around with old friends. And what with all the flights, the breaks in between grading the cassettes of the most adorable high school French you could possibly imagine and the pool side cocktail action, there is also much knitting happening 'round these parts (don't I have such a knack for the local lingo?). Pictures and LYS reviews will follow soon, but I can't seem to locate my camera cable at the moment...

This flurry of professional/knitting activity has me thinking about a curious commonality between being a French teacher and a knitter. Both inspire a rather confessional tone on the part of those that one encounters. "Oh you teach French? (nervous, awkward laughter) "I hated French, I took Spanish." Or "...I took it years ago but I've forgotten all of it". "Gee it must be so hard". Substitute 'knit/did crochet' for 'teach French/took Spanish' and you see what I mean, right? Both tend to produce a sort of anxiety, a need to confess one's own perceived lack or inabilities. Mathematicians have told me the same is true for them. I am sure that every one of you has had a similar interaction regarding your knitting. What is this about?

24 comments:

Nora said...

Bonjour to you too. I think you may be on to something there...

Jen said...

OMG, oral French exams... I just got a little sick thinking about those.

The only people who comment on my knitting are usually old and only speak Dutch. So, I have no clue what they're saying. Judging from their expressions, I think they're impressed that anyone my age would be knitting. Back in DC, no one would ever admit to shortcomings or lack of ability in any field. That's just crazy talk.

KnitPastis said...

I be very excited to hear that some taught French. I do hate math though:)

Heather said...

Sounds like fun! I do feel the need to make this confession: I took Spanish, as you know. I would have liked to take French as well, but I went to a very rural school in PA where it wasn't offered. C'est la vie.

Veronique said...

You are right on the money!
Sounds like you are having a blast in Kentucky. I have vacation envy (even though I know that you are not really on vacation).

uberstrickenfrau said...

When people find out I homeschool I get the confessions, the "I could never do that" and why they chose the schooling they did. Gee, I am not condemning them for their choices but some how they feel condemned and must explain. That feeling seems to overflow into alot of areas.And I could never learn languages, I'm much too busy with IMPORTANT things....just kidden!!!!heh

Gingersnaps with Tea... said...

I loved French, got straight A's on my oral exams, not so good on the written though. My understanding is French Canadian is NOT French from France. I hosted an exchange student from Strasbourg. I took her to Vancouver and she couldn't understand a single word of the French the flight attendant spoke.

Yarnhog said...

That's funny. People always react the same way to my husband, who is a physical fitness fanatic. Every man he talks to (and many of the women), seem to feel compelled to mention that they are "planning to get back to the gym soon." It happens so regularly that I actually wait for it in the conversation.

sophanne said...

It is the same when I say "I teach music." Usually the conversation involves which instrument they started with in grade school. Not so much "I could never do that" but more of a "I remember when I did that."

My theory is that there are sooooo many reality shows on tv with judges spouting out snap appraisals of every performance, that we've become inclined to judge ourselves (and others)before anyone else can.

My favorite knitting story was when the radiologist (who had presumably been through medical school) saw me knitting a sock while I was waiting for a mammogram and said, "Oooh that looks so hard. I could NEVER do that." I wondered if I really wanted this person using large xray equipment on "the girls.

Prof. Knitwit said...

Hey! I took AP French - several years ago, you could have been one of the people listening to my tape and reading my essays!! How cool!

I have gotten those comments about my knitting - but never about my job as a psychologist. Instead, it's the opposite..everyone becomes a little armchair psychologist!!

tiennie said...

If I come over and knit with you, you'll have to show me where the Cadbury Fruit and Nut Bars are - they're my favorite!

Risa said...

Yep, I'm with you on the knitting comments. I think the best reaction I ever got was, "How long did it take to learn how to do that?" Uh...
And for the profession, people usually ask, "You really need a master's degree for that?" Yeah, ya do. Thanks a lot!

Sarah said...

Believe it or not, I made it to university level french, and passed thanks to a very understanding french professor who had the patience to help me through the semester. I rarely use french now, so I am a very bad Canadian, non?

But, I dreaded math more than french.

Can't wait to see you W.I.P.s.

Faith said...

What an interesting parallel, you're right, there must be a similar "Oh dear" gleam in people's eyes when they're expected to respond positivly to something they have almost nothing to say about. Sounds fun though! Unless people forget to do that whole double-negative thing. I could never get a hang of that.

a friend to knit with said...

Yes you are right....just yesterday I had someone say to me...."Oh, you still doing that"?

WHAT!!! Like I would ever stop! :)

Have fun!

K & C said...

I used to teach writing, and it was the same nervousness from people about that--or else they had advice for me about what to teach (the most common being not to make it "flowery"--which they could never define if pressed). People are very, very nervous in general about making mistakes and being wrong. They often trap themselves because of it.

By the way, thanks for the bloglines tip. You have saved hours of my life already. I much appreciate that.

Cynthia

Kirsten said...

Ha-ha-ha-ha! It hadn't occured to me, but you are so right!
Sounds like you are having a good time listening to HS French, sipping cocktails and knitting.

Angela said...

Poolside cocktails--hurray! I took French in hs and college, but I was never any good at it. The tenses whipped my butt. (I really regret not applying myself more, but the thea-tah was my passion.) Now, all these years later, I am determined to learn Spanish--got my Rosetta Stone set ready to go once I hve more time in a few months. I may be in Louisville for a conference this fall, If you have any good finds, pass them on.)

Knitting Bandit said...

Hmm...I was thinking I'd try to learn a little French before August for my first trip to Paris. How? Maybe audio books? But after reading this post, it sounds like it would be too hard!

iSeL said...

Very funny.
Have lots of fun and come back with some more good stories.
I guess Econ isn't that popular either. Art history? Ha! :D

ali said...

He, he, I LOVED french (and math!) and wish I'd taken more!
I'm thinking of brushing up a bit and starting to add it to our homeschooling agenda... french, that is, math is already in the line-up!
Happy knitting-
ali

Top Hat said...

I'm graduating in math this year and I get it all the time! I'll also get the whole, "I watch Numb3rs, I know math, too!" deal. If TV could really educate people in math...

Tonya said...

Hey -- it's Tonya from the Knit Nook in Louisville!! I'm so glad you came in!!

robin said...

I get the math comments too as I'm a CPA and am in the tax profession (or the confessions about what they deducted on their return last year - I'm like, lalalala, don't want to know....) What people don't understand is that math is like 1% of what I do. (Although I do admit I drew up an algebra equation for something at work once to figure something out...)