Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The wonders of language

This week I have been treated to some truly brilliant answers for ‘why do you want to become a teacher?’ on the S4 exam. They all tried so hard to understand my questions and write in English (although sometimes it was definitely French!). They ranged from the very inspiring ‘Teachers are foundations of life’ to the rather more direct ‘Gives me money’, but actually most of them were way more society minded than I expected. Just goes to show that trainee teachers are a lovely egalitarian bunch the world over.

But it was a response to ‘why do teachers do teaching practice?’ that really made me smile. One
student wrote ‘to stop them from trembling’. If only it had worked for me! No amount of teaching practice would have kept the shake out of my knees on my first day of my NQT year or indeed from my first day standing up in front of a class of 60 African teenagers....However the response that gave me the most pause for thought was for the question ‘name a quality of a good teacher’ one student wrote ‘to stop children from having sugar mummies and daddies’. In my innocence I had to look up the meaning of such words, jeez I am innocent no longer...!

Well to put myself in their shoes I have been going at it some with learning French. I am officially temporarily banned from looking at the Guardian’s website however much I want to, it has to be Le Monde international and I have to translate. Deary me there certainly wasn’t much to translate for the UK news this week. I may have translated wrong but it seems that

Le train de vie du duc d'York embarrasse les autorités britanniques
The lifestyle of the Duke of York embarrasses the British Authorities

Again was all they had to say. Yawn. So I found a French textbook in the library and translated a lovely poem about Rwanda. I hope you enjoy it. It has made me very excited to see the volcanoes.

Les Birunga du Rwanda

Gashinga, Sabyinyo et Bushokoro,
Muhabura, tour majestueuse,
Karisimbi, le plus haut de tous,
Ils ont vraiment fière allure !

Ils ne dorment point,
Ils sont seulement assoupis,
Oh ! Les Birunga du Rwanda,
Ils ont vraiment fière allure !

Ils règnent, ils s’élancent
Aux confins du firmament,
Demeures immortelles des ancêtres,
Ils ont vraiment fière allure !

Bonjour, gorille des montagnes,
N’aie plus peur désormais,
On te protégera, toi et ton environnement.
Tu as vraiment fière allure !

Viens voir digne enfant de ce pays,
Réjouis-toi également, frère touriste,
Les Birunga du Rwanda,
Ils ont vraiment fière allure !  

The Volcanoes of Rwanda

Gashinga, Sabyinyo and Bushokoro,
Muhabura towers majestically,
Karisimbi, the highest of them all,
The look really proud !

They are not dormant,
They are only dozing,
Oh! The volcanoes of Rwanda,
They look really proud !

They reign, they soar
On the edge of heaven,
Dwellings of our immortal ancestors,
They look really proud !

Hello, gorilla of the mountains,
Be afraid no longer,
We will protect you and your environment,
You look really proud !

Dignified child of our country, come and see,
Enjoy them also, tourist brother,
The volcanoes of Rwanda,
They look really proud !  

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