Thursday, September 3, 2009


Journal for Christa—

One thing I remember about being a teenager is that I didn’t do anything that I was afraid I couldn’t do well. So, even though my junior high ninth grade English teacher insisted that I must take French when I went to high school, I didn’t. I was afraid. I’ve found that French would have been quite helpful, being an English teacher, and I’ve always regretted not heeding her advice. So, I have said for many years now, “Someday I’m going to learn French.”

I’m not teaching AP this year and was looking forward to the lighter grading load, when I discovered that French I was scheduled for my classroom during my planning period, and there were only 11 students in the class. Our French teacher is quite good and seemed rather excited at the prospect of my joining her class. Knowing the sadistic side of teachers, I think Madame Voss thought teaching a 55-year-old brain French might lighten up her life a little. (I do catch a twinkle in her eye when she looks at me.)

I had to skip the first day. (It is my planning period after all.) But the second day I slipped in and sat at the end of a row behind a nice girl—who unfortunately (for her) has ended up my practice partner—and whom I think will do quite well in American literature later on. So, our lessons commenced: Madame Voss says, “a bientot,” and the smart little ninth graders parrot back, “a bientot,” while I stare at the white board thinking, “aahhhhh…”

Yesterday Madame Voss finished a few minutes early so I slipped out and headed directly to the library and Shannon, my eternal encourager. “I’ve made a terrible mistake,” I blurted, “but I can’t quit. They’ll all be in my American lit. class in two years. And besides, I’ve already covered my book!”

It just reminds me of what Anne Graham Lots says about witnessing, “If you’re scared—well—then just do it scared!”

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