Schoolgirl memories: second grade

If you want to know how this series of posts got started, read here.


Second grade deserves a post all of its' own. After all, it is the year my family moved from California to France!

It was Year One on the mission field for us: Language School. We lived in a sort of compound with all the other families who were learning French for missionary work. While the grown-ups were sweating it out, learning to be fluent in a second language, my siblings and I (along with all the other kids on the compound) were sent to the local public school.

In the mornings, we gathered in a special classroom where we were explicitly taught French. My teacher knew precisely two words in English: "shut" and "up". I wish to goodness I remembered how they taught us French. I vaguely remember picture slides of various scenes, then the teacher telling us stories about the slides. Then we wrote the stories down in a notebook.

In the early days, I remember playing outside at recess and trying to have a conversation with some French girls. I was getting increasingly frustrated because I didn't know how to say a specific word. My friends were being so helpful: guessing random words and asking me "Is it this? This? This? This?" Not surprisingly, they never did figure it out.

In the afternoons, we were mainstreamed into the regular French classrooms for math. Because, duh, everyone speaks numbers and there surely isn't any need to understand the words around the numbers. I was confused and embarrassed when the teacher jumped right into subtraction WITH BORROWING. And I had never seen that before and had no concept of what the heck borrowing was. And since they do their math all funny in France, it wasn't until I was in the States for college that I understood about hundreds, tens, and ones.


But I survived the trauma and I magically spoke French pretty fluently by the end of that school year. In fact, it had become so natural to speak it that I would start using it around the house with my sister and brother. Sometimes it would be come "Frenglish".

My parents tried to outlaw French at home.... they claimed they were worried we would lose our English. But I think maybe they were just jealous of our flawless accents!

What do you remember from second grade?


Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

2nd Grade - the year I had to be taught how to make friends. Didn't stick - I'm still a loner.

French though - wow! I wish I could speak French. Or anything other than English.

Do kids in second grade start multiplication these days or is it still just addition and subtraction? They aren't doing algebra in 4th grade, are they? I hope not, or my kids are going to be way behind.

Sharlene T. said...

I remember being applauded because I was finally able to read a whole paragraph in French without making mistakes... and, feeling rather cocky about the whole thing, went to the rest room and came back to laughter... my skirt was caught in my panties... the beginning of my life of ups and downs...

Ellen Marie "Mama" Pike said...

You sure had an interesting year in second grade!

Two of my memories is that in the quaint,old, three story school I attended it was quite a milestone to be on the second floor in second grade. I somehow felt important about that!

Also, my Mom was room mother and she sewed an amazing, large red, silk heart with an event published on it which was displayed outside our classroom door on an easel during February. It was so beautiful and I overheard a lot of compliments. Of course this added to my self-esteem that I had an awesome mom!

Cindy said...

Wow I couldn't imagine being in the position in second grade. It would have scared me to death!
In second grade I live in Queens NY. Can you believe they actually let us off campus for lunch?! I used to go across the street to the pizza place or the deli. I remember standing in line at the deli and a big guy asking me what I wanted. I didn't know how to express that somebody already took my order. He just kept yelling at me to speak up! It was than that I learn to say, "I'm already being helped'" Now everytime I'm in that position in a store it takes me right back to that day and I proudly say,"Thank you, I'm already being helped!":)
Great post!

I also wanted to let you know that you are a winner!! You won my chalkboard giveaway! Stop by to see how to collect your prize:)

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Oddly, I too heard everything in a foreign language, unfortunately, I lived in a small town in Michigan...

Elissa said...

I remember all my lines from the school Christmas play and nothing else from 2nd grade.

It was traumatic. In Second grade cooties were still deadly. I played Mary and had to hold baby Jesus and Sing to a BOY how much I LOVED and ADORED him and I had to call him "Dearest".

This event blocked all other happenings from my memory.

Anonymous said...

Jealous? YES! Especially your use of the "conditional." No fair at all! Love you, Mom

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