Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Tu-ing me softly

I have one of those faces. When I don't smile, I look mean or unapproachable or cold. People often interpret my lack of smile as aloofness or cockiness. But they usually don't realize that I'm actually a quiet and shy observer. 

Of course I wouldn't expect my kids' teachers to know this about me. And I couldn't expect my kids' teachers to know that this is exacerbated by my "American-ness" ie being a little "too" brusque and a little "too" direct. 

When I went into my daughter's CP class last year, I didn't expect much. But I did expect a thank you from the teacher. Which I NEVER got. Yes, that's right. She never said thank you. I took that as a personal attack on my lessons, even though I got positive feedback from parents and kids alike. OBVIOUSLY, I'm imagined her saying bad things about me and what a snob I was ! 

So this year, I was understandably hesitant when I offered to go into the CE1 class (the teacher is the directrice) . And when she accepted very heartily, I was relieved. Maybe I had done a good job last year?! And when she asked the entire class to say "thank you" after the first lesson, I was touched. And when her inspector attended my second lesson and gave positive feedback, I was gleaming. And I was vindicated. 

Then last Saturday at the school's Christmas party, I was behind the snack bar and last year's teacher came up. She used the informal tu form with me, called me by my first name, and told the woman next to her how delicious my cookies were and had I made any for the bake sale because they wer eoh so delicious. I instantly smelled an ass-kisser. But beyond the self-satisfaction I've gotten with knowing I did a good job at my daughter's school, I'm just totally and thoroughly confused about the whole tu versus vous thing. Every time I think I've understood, I realize that I don't understand anything! And I can't bring myself to tu her because, well, I'm still holding a grudge for one...

But WHY is she tu-ing me all of a sudden? Is it because she realizes my dedication to the school, because she now understands I'm not just some crazy American, does she see me as an equal, does she think she'll gain something from me, or is she just actually a nice person who's smile-less face and shy demeanor are wrongly interpreted as aloof over-confidence? 

I may never know....

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