la gs

At School and in the Classroom in French

Dans la salle de classe (in the classroom):

une règle - ruler

une gomme - a rubber

une trousse - a pencil case

un stylo - a pen

un crayon - a pencil

une carte - a map

un sac à dos - a backback

un livre - a book

un cahier - a workbook

une table - a table

un uniforme scolaire - school uniform


français - french

la philosophie (philo) - philosophy (all students in terminal have to do philo)

la musique - music

les mathématiques - maths

Sciences de la vie et de la Terre (SVT) - it’s sort of like biology and geology

la physique - physics

la chimie - chemistry

la technologie - technology (IT)

l’art - art

Languages that students can study at various stages:

anglais - english

allemand - german

latin - latin

arabe - arabic

espagnol - spanish

russe - russian

portugais - portuguese

italien - italian

grec ancien - ancient greek

Different types of schools:

l’école maternelle - pre-school (not obligatory)

l’école primaire - primary school

le collège - high school (kind of) (from 11-12 years of age to 14-15 years of age)

le lycée - high school (years 10-12)

different kinds of teachers:

un professeur - teacher (collège/lycée/université)

enseignant/e - teacher (collège/lycée)

maître/maîtresse - teacher (école primaire)

instituteur/institutrice - teacher (école primaire)

How the grades work:

It’s basically like a countdown! However primary teaching, including maternelle and élémentaire are made up of three teaching cycles (you’ll see which ones belong to which cycle)

début de l’école primaire:

début de l’école maternelle :

de trois à six ans

(première année) - la petite section (PS) (cycle 1)

(deuxième année) - la moyenne section (MS) (cycle 1)

(troisième année) - la grande section (GS) (cycle 1)

début de l’école élémentaire:

de six à dix ans:

(première année de l’école élémentaire) - cours préparatoire (CP) (cycle 2)

(deuxième année) - cours élémentaire 1re année (CE1) (cycle 2)

(troisième année) - cours élémentaire 2e année (CE2) (cycle 2)

(quatrième année) - cours moyen 1re année (CM1) (cycle 3)

(cinquième année) - cours moyen 2e année (CM2) (cycle 3)

début du collège :

sixième (6e)

cinquième (5e)

quatrième (4e)

troisième (3e)

début du lycée:

début du lycée général (this is the one you do to get into university so I will focus on that for the moment):


After second students have to choose between three streams (séries) for their final two years of study: S (scientifique), ES (économique et social), and L (littérature)



In terminale, students study for the BAC (the baccalaureate), however to get into one of the prestigious universities (les grandes écoles) you have to pass the concours (a kind of exam), to prepare for which, many students do prépa (les classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles) for about two years (you’re meant to study for 60 hours a week I would have died)  

Message me for improvements or corrections!


LA River


It’s 4:30am. My insulated travel french press is sitting sullenly on the counter. It’s been there all night, steely throat agape, hungrily awaiting its morning meal of coffee grounds and scalding water. If the little fucker had fingers I’m sure they’d be tapping impatiently.

“Flyfishing.” The word typically conjures images of freestone rivers, pristine landscapes, and trout flashing like living jewels in a crystal current.

“Los Angeles.” The name is reminiscent of palm trees, botoxed celebrities, and urban sprawl pocking the landscape beneath the seasonless glare of a perpetual sun. It may be the last place that comes to mind when someone says “flyfishing.”

But here I am in Los Angeles at 4:47am, travel french press nestled contently in my cup holder, rolling North on the 710 towards Pasadena to flyfish the LA River with my brother.

By 6am we’re on the river. We will find no trout here. Once upon a time, before the concrete shackles that now bind its banks were installed in the name of flood control, this river held a run of wild steelhead. But they haven’t been seen in these parts since the 1940s. No, we’re on the hunt for the carp that thrive in the warm, dirty water that runs the 50-mile gauntlet of concrete and freeway overpasses, down to the Pacific Ocean.

Despite the knowledge of this unfortunate history, I find myself surprised by the strange beauty of the river. The soft hues of an LA sunrise cast scraps of foliage struggling through cracked concrete in a charming light. In certain sections, where the river bottom is intact, where the reeds and willows grow thickest, there still lingers a hint of what once was; the last remnants of that river magic all fishermen know. It still clings to the crevices and hollows of this river. You’ll catch its shimmer out of the corner of your eye.

My brother and I didn’t catch any fish this day. Our plan was to fish here regularly, until we cracked the code on the carp that scour the slimy river bottom. But life had other plans and I found myself moving to Idaho before we had a chance to return. Instead, I’m left with a memory of our lone encounter with this crippled river. And perhaps too, a sliver of hope. Maybe even a river as damaged and broken as this isn’t beyond hope. Maybe it just needs half a chance. That river magic lies dormant, but not dead. I’ve seen it. It is waiting for a chance to bloom once more.