So there I was, armed and ready to enrol at Alliance Francais de Manille. I picked the start date and made the deposit. Joms wanted to pitch in as well and he offered to pay for my books which costed 2000 PHP. God. It better be worth it!
My class starts at 9am. After ending my shift around 5am, I snoozed a little bit before braving the horrendous early morning rush hour traffic. Adrenaline kept me awake as this was going to be my very first formal class. It was a good thing I kept enough sunshine in my pocket because oh boy, I needed it.
After finally finding the school building, I proceeded to the reception to but the books. The lady in the counter wasn't in the mood. She barely smiled. She sounded just as cold and irritated over the phone. I paid for the books and everything but she got my class and the schedule incorrectly. I got to the room, tried to fix my stuff, and the teacher arrived. A tall lanky woman named Ninon.
"Bonjour! Je m'appelle Ninon, comment t'appelles tu?"
(Hello! My name is Ninon, what's your's?)
"Je m'appelle Seth."
(Nice to meet you)
Ok. First day. Typical. We were 10 in the room and we went around in circles trying to repeat the lines. I was confident of course, I knew these phrases long before but I was patient. I had three hours to savor this twice a week.
...then the late comers started arriving one by one and we had to do the same routine all over again... until we had completed the class of 20... after an hour.
Unlimited? Sukang suka nako sa je m'appelle. Shutangina.
I found out that most of my classmates were nurses bound for Quebec. When they asked me why I enrolled, mine was simple, "libangan? Guso ko lang."
Over the next few days my bright and shiny disposition slowly dissipated. I was getting frustrated.
- The teacher had poor class control. Students tend to manipulate her attention to their own personal curiosity which is not really relevant at the time. Most people wanted to learn everything all at once and it got more complicated for them upon hearing that French has words with masculine and feminine forms. "How do you pronounce it? How do you write it? Why does the c have a small tail on it and now it sounds like an S?"
- Everything on the book is in French. No translations. Zero. How can I self study with this expensive crap? In addition, there is barely any introduction to grammar rules before answering the activity book. We pretty much spend an entire session just answering the book wherein the instructions are unclear. A1 remember? Beginner level.
- Charades. I hate charades. Why does this teacher have very poor English comprehension and is she expecting that we keep up with her at all?
Repeter (repeat), she says the same thing twice
Escrive (write), she opens he palm and draws
Are you fucking kidding me? This is not what I paid for.
I actually missed almost 5 sessions. I easily got bored. Joms and I went on a holiday, plus after changing companies, it proved challenging enough to commute to McKinley hill. After the schedule became favorable to attend the classes once more, I literally slept in the office with a towel and a change of clothes since it would be impractical to go back and forth to Cubao.
When I came back, they were only at page 20. The last time I checked we only finished page 15. One page a day for 3 hours? I asked another professor. A Filipino teacher. He explained that the A1 class I paid for was only for 3 modules good for 56 hours in total. In order to finish the entire A1 I need to finish 20 fucking modules.
Nakaka tatlo pa lang pala ako at di ko pa kaya gumawa ng sarili kong sentences kung ito lang ginagamit ko?
I pity the nurses. Some of them had the same misconception they'd be prepared somewhat after a 56 hour crash course to meet their employer for a local interview. Good luck answering "tell me something about yourself -- in French."
a suivre (to be continued...)