The other night I went to see the French fim, The Class. While one never truly knows what one is going to get from a French flick, this one I could relate to. The year after I graduated college I moved to Paris for a year to teach English at a high school just outside the city. (It was a pretty sweet deal. The English teaching assistantship, a program sponsored by the French Cultural Ministry, involved 12 hours a week and had 2 weeks of vacation every 6 weeks. And you wonder why I love the French so?). In any case, this film was fascinating to me. The class I was teaching wasn’t treated as a true academic class (it was an additional class on top of a heavy load – still serious, but I tried to make lessons fun, real, no grades or homework). However I still witnessed so many of the challenges presented in the film. Part of me felt spoiled for always having been around such motivated people my whole life. It gave me a whole new respect and admiration for teachers and the challenges they face. My students had the same names as the students in the film and I felt like as if I already knew some of them as I watched. By the nature of my class load (aka short work week and alternating classes), I never was able to get as invested in their lives as this teacher did, but still I saw the same issues of growing up and identity, and in the case of many of these students – what it means to be French.