I have never been a fan of humiliation. I think it is silly, unnecessary and mean however in the past month of my life I have come to understand (and almost accept) that when learning a language … HUMILIATION is part of the deal, everyday, pretty much all day I am humiliated. Let me tell you, coming to Paris is fun, learning French isn’t.

Because I have progressed to A2 (used to be in A1) the classes have stepped up, instead of verb gymnastics we now do questions and answers. The teacher shoots a question and we are expected to answer … immediately … in front of a class full of strangers. Yes this ultimately results in utter humiliation. If by any chance I am lucky enough to understand the question my answer, no doubt, is completely wrong, my tenses are never right and my pronunciation is so bad that the responses I then get once I have answered are “il n’existe pas” or “je ne comprends pas” which is “this does not exist” or “I don’t understand”!

I have tried to combat the humiliation by preparing more thoroughly for my lessons. I know now that on Thursdays we are asked what we will do for Thursday late night shopping and late night museum openings and on Fridays we are asked what we will do over the weekend and on Mondays asked what we did over the weekends. Either on Tuesdays or Wednesdays she will ask what we did in the afternoon before or what we will do in the afternoon coming up. I know you thinking at least I have worked these out and I have and as part of the nonhumilatation plan I have written all these questions out in all the possible forms
that they could be asked – its taken up nearly a whole book because each question has about 8 choices of actually how to ask it. I then prepare my answers, make sure my tenses are right and that I am actually “doing” a verb and not a noun. I then learn all my answers off my heart and on the way to class in the morning practice them on the metro. I get my coffee and sit in the same place (an unspoken rule) and await the humiliation or perhaps nonhumilation this time (here is hoping) now that I have practised.
But no, I am humiliated once again, either she asks the question in the one way I don’t know or I answer and my pronunciation is so bad I get the “it’s not possible” or “it doesn’t exist” response. So, now when I wake up in the morning, I get dressed and go school and all I do is prepare for the feeling of humiliation and, to be quite honest, feel absolutely terrified!