Give me an A
Right before Christmas, we handed in our first assignment for my masters program. It was a 15 page business case study on "la success story" of Franck Provost, analyzing how he went from a simple hairdresser to the head of an internationally-renowned group, with several different franchises covering all price ranges (Franck Provost, Jean-Louis David, Saint Algue, Fabio Salsa, etc).
Yesterday, our program director came by during the break with several galettes des rois and some champagne to wish us "Bonne Année". He also handed back our reports and gave us our grades. Once everyone realized that he was planning on announcing our grades out loud, in front of the entire class, a nervous twitter started around the room. I'd say the average age of my classmates is probably 45, and I had to laugh at the effect it had on them, even at their age. As soon as they saw him holding a piece of paper with all of our names on it, I started hearing choruses of "Oh non...non, pas comme à l'écolé, s'il vous plait".
It brought me back to my previous experiences with the French school system in Bretagne, first at the University of Rennes and then as an English teacher. I remember how horrified I was the first time a professor read our test scores out loud - not because I had bad grades, but because I felt so bad for those who did. I mean, how mortifying!
It took me years to understand that it was just a different way of going about things, and that the French school system often used "shaming" to try to keep kids in line. I rationalized it by thinking that the kids eventually grew a thick skin and go used to it, but seeing how my fellow students reacted made me wonder if it wasn't just skin deep after all... But then again, the French trounce the Americans on an annual basis when it comes to standardized testing, so who am I to judge?
For those of you wondering what my grade was - I got a 15/20, which I am very satisfied with. I know we all put in a ton of work on this - time estimates ranged from 50-100 hours, but I am still thinking they graded us easy for the first assignment. The lowest grade given was a 12 and the highest was a 17.....and even if I care more about how much I learn than what grade I get, part of me still hopes the easy grading continues for the rest of the year!
Labels: Masters in France