Pas Mal

French Word of the Day: pas mal (pah mall)- not bad

In France when a teacher wants to tell you you did well, they say, “Pas mal.”  This is the equivalent of “WOW!  THAT WAS AWESOME!”  Although directly translated it means, “Not bad.”

The French and American school systems are completely different.  They emphasize memorization and sometimes give you homework they’ve never taught you to see if you can figure it out on your own.  If you can’t, then they will teach you.

This explains why I had to teach myself the subjunctive tense last night before my test.

In the States, I try really hard to get good grades.  It’s kind of an obsession.  Anything less than an A is failing.

French student’s don’t share my mentality.  France’s point system starts at 20.  The only people who get 20s are people with doctorate.  Imagine my horror when I got a 13.5/20.  In America, that’s a 67.5%.  In America, that’s a D.  In America, that’s bad.

In France, that’s a good grade.  In France, students are happy to get a 10, because a 10 means they passed.  In France, the most important thing is to pass.

The French don’t believe in coddling their students.  They don’t get gold star stickers.  I’m sad for them.  I feel my childhood wouldn’t be complete without gold star stickers.

Look how happy that gold star is!  I don’t know about you, but I feel better about myself just looking at it.

Basically the students in the French system are constantly hit with the knowledge that they know nothing.  I would say this makes for emotionally stable people, but their depressing movies might suggest otherwise.

Maybe I’m just too happy?

I go to the States on Sunday, providing it doesn’t snow here.  I’m not worried about it snowing in Chicago; I’m sure Chicagoans can handle it.  Parisians?  Not so much.  If a snow flake falls, the entire airport probably shuts down.  Let’s hope I don’t have to find out…

Pain au chocolat: 36

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About The Meghan

I'm a lupus survivor who spent a year and a half in France. Now, I'm trying to incorporate the best parts of French culture into an American lifestyle.
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One Response to Pas Mal

  1. Arnaud says:

    hahaha that’s right ! 13..14 is a good mark !! i was happy to have it when i was a student 😀
    i usually had that if u don’t count math…physics…french (i had less…) hahaha

    btw we had “pictures” when we were at school if we did something good (at 3 to 6 year old) 😉

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