First, regarding the kids at school, the ones actually considered kids:
I taught a Thanksgiving lesson last week on Thursday (yes, I worked on Thanksgiving…because it’s an American holiday), and I explained how it started out as a feast where the Pilgrims gave thanks to God for surviving the winter, having good Native American (yes, I’m PC…) friends, etc.etc.etc. In my CE1 class (2nd grade), one of the kids raises his hand, and we have the following exchange, translated into English for your convenience:
“Did the dinosaurs have Thanksgiving, too?”
“Well, I don’t know…”
“Did the dinosaurs even have a god to give thanks to??”
“Well, to be honest, I never met the dinosaurs, and they didn’t leave any writing, so no one really knows for sure.” (That was a much easier answer than explaining dinosaurs’ probable lack of complex sentient thought, which would be necessary to create a god.)
“Wait, but I thought you were old! You didn’t know the dinosaurs??”
Yes. They haven’t quite grasped the difference of time yet. This would be the same kid who, a few weeks ago, guessed what year I was born. He started at 2003 and ended up guessing 2010. Oops, my cover’s blown; I’m actually a time-traveler.
Next, regarding the potentially slightly immature child inside most of the 20-something-year-old assistants:
I met some of the other assistants in Lyon on Saturday afternoon for an overnight at a hostel, to get out, have dinner, celebrate Thanksgiving, all that. After dinner, everyone wanted to go to a bar. Where did we end up? The Anglophone, gaudy attempt at a NYC-themed bar named Cosmo. The decor was even a really nice attempt at a divey hipster bar! Oooooh. In their defense, they were all drunk by this point in time, and didn’t want to speak French anymore.
Finally, regarding the kids and the kids-at-heart of the Gris family (visiting them was the primary reason I was in Lyon, as I hadn’t seen them since I arrived, completely jetlagged, in September):
Before lunch, the three oldest boys (10, 8, and 4) and the husband and I all sat down for some crackers and flavored cheese cubes. As a side note, smoked onion flavored cheese is amazing. But the real draw of these cheese cubes is the trivia questions on the inside of the foil wrapping. I read one, which went something like this: “What is known as the crotte of a deer, and also rises from a chimney in the winter?” Wordplay, I gathered, but I didn’t know the word crotte, and so asked the dad, who immediately started giggling. The boys all turned their attention to him, asking what was so funny. He told me to read it again, so I did, and at crotte they all started giggling hysterically, trying (and failing) to suppress it. Turns out it’s a word for poop, except a bit stronger. Why it was printed in a trivia question on the inside of cheese cubes, I will never know.
The biggest problem I keep having with the kids is when one of them says a bad word, or a gros mot, and some other kid calls him or her out on it. Not only do I usually not hear what they say, but I usually don’t understand them when I do hear them, and I don’t know what half of the bad words are in French, or what’s considered a bad word to elementary school kids that I hear all the time in the marketplace. So I’ve made a new rule: if I don’t hear it (and, secretly, if I hear it but don’t understand it), it didn’t happen. So stop trying to get your friends in trouble, because you KNOW you’re going to be the next one to say it.