Excusez Moi

Any time we moved, I dove head first into a new language and would kinda wing it. My accents were always excellent, I could mimic just about anyone and any accent. I just sucked at grammar and well, conjugation.

My 9th grade French teacher was a wee bit pretentious. She somehow manged to have an English accent, although she was American, and yet her French accent was more American than French. From the first day, she didn’t like me. I never exactly understood why, I thought I was pretty good at being invisible, but she just took aim at me.

My Father was always my language tutor, he had perfect Spanish, French, Latin and Greek. Yet, his accents were absolutely hilarious, his English accent never diminished under his perfect verb conjugations! I was the opposite, perfect accent in any language, yet grammar, forget it.

We received a huge 2 month project, to write and then present to the class about a place in the world. I was excited, talking about travel at any time gave me a smile. I worked hard, picked my destination, researched and began to draft my presentation.

My Father corrected my grammar, made me practice, and applauded my presentation.

It was my turn to present. I got up, made my presentation, and then clipped my index cards together and left them on my teacher’s desk. My teacher sat staring at me, the silence was petrifying. She snarled, and stated “you made up a verb, and your conjugations were a mess.”

I looked back, a little stung. Then stated back “that’s impossible, my Father corrected it all, and he has perfect French.”

She looked back, bristled then said “oh, is he a teacher? or a professor of French.” batting her eyelashes in the most sarcastic of ways.

I shook my head, upset. I just wanted to be invisible.

The next day, I got those index cards back. She had given me a D. She had circled 2 verbs, and then looked back at me and smiled.

I was heartbroken, I had worked really hard on my presentation, and had a flawless accent. I brought it home to my Father. He was not impressed.

2 days later, I was called into the head master’s office. He smiled, made me sit. I was extremely uncomfortable, I was never called into the office, like EVER.

He stated that there was a little “misunderstanding” and that my French grade had been changed to a B+. He passed my index cards back to me, and told me to return to my class.

That evening, I mentioned it to my Father. He stated bluntly, some teachers need there own lesson in their subject matter. He had called, tore a strip off the teacher in a very diplomatic fashion, and told her to look up the verbs. She did. She had to apologize.

I never could look her in the eye after that. Nor did I ever like French after that.

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