Tuesday, October 16, 2012

mostly school, again

Yes, sometime last month I said I’d post when school was settled down. I maintain that I’m still not entirely sure whether I have math class on Tuesday or Friday (last week it was both, and the week before it was neither), but I can’t claim I haven’t had anything to write about. Soon we will have two weeks off for fall break; that includes Eid el-Adha, perhaps the biggest holiday of the year, and we will also take a trip to Fes. But for now, it’s mostly just school.

I have two or three two-hour classes each day, plus one on Saturday. (I have fewer classes than normal because I’m not taking English or P.E.) We may or may not have a half-hour lunch break at noon. In the morning, getting to school, I take a grand taxi. Getting home is always an adventure, but I most often take a grand taxi.

My classes are: French, Spanish, history, math, biology, and physics. Class often consists of copying down notes either from the board or by the teacher’s dictation. For math and science my class has only nine students, and in the other subjects we combine with the rest of the Première class (20-30 students). 
The main focus in the last two years of high school is preparing for the Bac (Baccalaureate) exam. Students can take either the French Bac or the Moroccan one and a good score is critical for getting into a good university. 

Grades are given on a 20-point scale like the Bac. Scores above 18 are rare and what we consider an “A” is about 14-15 here. We’ve already had a few tests (contrôles, maybe more like quizzes), but there will be larger tests (épreuves) and regular practice Bacs (similis). Fortunately I haven’t had to take any of the similis for French, because poetry analysis is pretty much no fun. I don’t usually have all that much homework here, but apparently the other school (l’Institut) is quite different.

Classes are in French, but there’s plenty of Arabic spoken around, and many people like to speak English with me. The other students are all taking English as a (third) language but some already speak it pretty well, in addition to Arabic, French, Spanish, and perhaps a second first language.

A picture, because it's boring to only have text. This is the café next to our apartment.
One advantage is that when there's a soccer game on, you know whenever something exciting just happened.
The weather here is still pretty warm, but less so than it was in August. It doesn’t ever get very cold We’ve had a little rain and should get a lot more in the winter.
So, generally, things are going pretty well. I should have more to post at the end of the month, during our school break, but for now things have settled down into a routine of school and regular meetings at AMIDEAST.