The Student Room Group

a level subject dilemma

Hi, I’m in my second month of year 12 and I’m already struggling with french. I was a grade 8 student at gcse however now i feel like i know nothing. I’m in a class with lots of native speakers and people that are simply better than me and because of this the teachers patronise me and make me feel inferior. I got held behind after class because my teacher told me he thought I was struggling which made me think that if I’m already struggling maybe I shouldn’t be doing this subject. However my mother and my grandma are both fluent French speakers (not native) so in a way it feels like I’m breaking some sort of tradition if I stop doing French A-level as I really love the language and I would like to speak it but I really don’t like the a level so far . Every time I see French on my timetable I feel tears in my eyes and the whole time in French I’m sat there trying not to cry as I literally know nothing. My french teachers talk to me like I’m a baby. I just want to know are there any non-native speakers here that struggled with French but persevered and got the hang of it? Because I really don’t feel like I’m ever gonna get the hang of it and I don’t want this subject to kind of spill into my free time. If I were to drop French I think I would take photography A-level however I don’t know if it would be too much coursework as I already do art A-level . In the future I would like to be a fashion journalist which is why I thought picking French be a good idea as I assumed that I could be travelling and fashion correlates with France a lot but I’ve looked at universities that offer fashion journalism as a course and French isn’t required so I’m wondering if it’s really worth it in the end. The reason why I thought of photography is because they do fashion photography which I thought was quite interesting, but I’m very worried about the amount of coursework with art.
I'm not really the response you were looking for, as I'm not taking French, but i do know what it feels like to seem terrible at the subjects that you've chosen, and I know it must be especially hard if you're up against native speakers. One of my teachers told me how she had gotten 100% on her biology paper in high school and then got a D in her first assessment in Sixth Form, which put things in perspective for me a little. I think once you have spent more time with your subjects and had a chance to cover more of the material, you'll feel a lot better about your abilities. Your teachers being condescending is unhelpful and unprofessional, and so speaking to your Head of Year or Head of College might help to sort that problem out. If, however, you're not actually enjoying French as a subject, regardless of the teachers and students, it may be a good idea to drop it. No one really likes school, but if you dislike your topic on its own, you're going to have a harder time working for it because you'll be less motivated, and you shouldn't be stuck doing something that you don't enjoy. Photography sounds really fun, though you do have a point about the quantity of coursework, but this may be something else you could talk to leading staff about. Even if your French teachers are horrible, staff is there to help you and you shouldn't feel uncomfortable asking them to. You should be taking subjects you at least enjoy a bit and I'm so sorry that your French teachers are blocking that. If your leading staff can't help, and you do enjoy french, you could learn it outside of school, either with a tutor or trusty duolingo and put on your CV/ personal statement that you can speak it, that way you have a bonus skill on top of your qualifications. You also shouldn't feel pressured to speak French just because your mum and grandma do because you're a separate person and they can't make you (though from what you've said it's your guilt rather than their pressure? Dont feel guilty! it's your life!) Anyway I want you to know that you're not dumb, your subjects are your choice, and there are always extracurricular options.
Good luck with college :smile:
Original post by Amicia3
I'm not really the response you were looking for, as I'm not taking French, but i do know what it feels like to seem terrible at the subjects that you've chosen, and I know it must be especially hard if you're up against native speakers. One of my teachers told me how she had gotten 100% on her biology paper in high school and then got a D in her first assessment in Sixth Form, which put things in perspective for me a little. I think once you have spent more time with your subjects and had a chance to cover more of the material, you'll feel a lot better about your abilities. Your teachers being condescending is unhelpful and unprofessional, and so speaking to your Head of Year or Head of College might help to sort that problem out. If, however, you're not actually enjoying French as a subject, regardless of the teachers and students, it may be a good idea to drop it. No one really likes school, but if you dislike your topic on its own, you're going to have a harder time working for it because you'll be less motivated, and you shouldn't be stuck doing something that you don't enjoy. Photography sounds really fun, though you do have a point about the quantity of coursework, but this may be something else you could talk to leading staff about. Even if your French teachers are horrible, staff is there to help you and you shouldn't feel uncomfortable asking them to. You should be taking subjects you at least enjoy a bit and I'm so sorry that your French teachers are blocking that. If your leading staff can't help, and you do enjoy french, you could learn it outside of school, either with a tutor or trusty duolingo and put on your CV/ personal statement that you can speak it, that way you have a bonus skill on top of your qualifications. You also shouldn't feel pressured to speak French just because your mum and grandma do because you're a separate person and they can't make you (though from what you've said it's your guilt rather than their pressure? Dont feel guilty! it's your life!) Anyway I want you to know that you're not dumb, your subjects are your choice, and there are always extracurricular options.
Good luck with college :smile:

Hi thank you so much for this, i really needed someone to help me and also comfort me. I think i’m going to take photography as i just think it’s going to make me happier, and do french on the side with my mum. Thank you :smile:

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