Roberto: Man, my heart really goes out to you! I had a lot of trouble with French and Latin in school, which is odd, because I liked the subjects. I feel certain I could have done better if the classes had only slowed down, and maybe put more emphasis on aesthetics...but maybe I'm just making excuses.
Anyway, my advice is to get all the tutoring you can afford or can handle. Use tutors for the entire year if need be. If that doesn't help, and you're looking at a possible failing grade, then make a cold analysis of what's needed to pass. The teachers want you know grammar and irregular verbs....but maybe you can squeak through (just barely) by studying the easier things instead, like vocabulary, prefixes, translation and regular verbs.
The only other thing I can think of is to acquire a couple of raggedy old thrift-store textbooks that might explain some things in a way that excites you more than the textbook you're using. Then there's always flash cards. Or get a girlfriend who's good at French! I'm afraid that's all I can think of. Does anybody else have a thought about this?
How would I teach French 101 if I were qualified (which I'm not)? Well, for one thing I'd use more English in class than most teachers, and not rely on the total immersion technique which is popular now. Not only that, I'd require only "pigeon" French in the beginning...but in copious amounts.
What's wrong with pigeon? I'd cheerfully accept bad, ungrammatical speech, as long it succeeded in communicating. If a student said the equivalent of "Jean go library yesterday," instead of "Jean went to the library," I'd give him a passing grade. That's the way little kids learn their native language. They speak pigeon first, then refine it as they learn more.
I should add that if you speak this way in France they'll kill you.
I'd love to hear a whole class sing this with passion. Maybe a couple of the students could sing the part of the nazi officers whose own song is drowned out.
Here's (above) the same anthem sung more clearly, and with English subtitles. Boy, there's a big disconnect between the way the language is written and the way it sounds. No wonder students have trouble with it!
I love the French. They have a spirit that's bracing and unique, and which is exemplified by this amazing song (above) by Edith Piaf. Piaf delivers her nasal sounds and her "R's" like a master. The language is too often dumbed down to make it easier for foreigners to learn. I prefer it full strength, like it is here (but I would only enforce it that way in French 102).
If the video won't play, then click on this link to hear it on YouTube: