Working Hard or Hardly Working?
Halloo! So fans, here is the promised post about die SCHULE (told you your German is getting better!)
Well, this post will be about this week… ish, I’m a bit behind on the old posts – been busy drinking beer and looking at the Rhein… lol what can you do – BUT bear with me and fasten your seat belts because the next few posts might be a wee bit long and sporadic BUT then again, these posts are meant to be an accurate representation of my year so ALLES GUT.
SO, a little about life TRYING to be a teacher – it’s not all play here you know!!
Alright, alright I know you all desperately want to know about the fire brigade festival and I’d hate to leave it out so here we go… and I promise then we will move onto school (I do work sometimes while I’m here mum I promise).
You MIGHT (just might) be thinking, what kind of town has a fire brigade festival, and I won’t lie, I too was a little confused, but can I just say it was BOPPING.
All the fire brigades in small towns in Germany are voluntary (rogue fact about Germany for you all), SO of course they get their own festival, and rightly so, if I ever ran into a fire voluntarily I would want one too – yet another thing which amazes me about GerMEN.
On the day of the ‘Feurwehrfest’ Rachael (if you have been keeping up to date you will be aware of this character!) came over to join the festivities, no one wants to miss the fire brigade festival!
In true German fashion there was a sausage stand, a beer stand and, most importantly, a voluntary fire brigade brass band, because every voluntary fire brigade needs a brass band! (the work for which can I just say is ONE WORD in German – ‘die Freiwilligefeuerwehrblaskapelle’. Lol, why did I pick this language).
Rachael and I enjoyed our pretzels, beer, and homemade cake to the sound of the brass band and tried to blend in with the locals… can confirm we need more practice, mainly because most of them were 70+ – good job we have 9 ¾ months left!!!
Right, enough play and back to work!!
As you may know, I help teach English in a really lovely school here in Boppard, the kids and the teachers are all so friendly which has made the whole fact of not actually being a teacher and trying to give lessons, a lot easier.
On the first day of school Frau Nicky (again you will be familiar if you read the last post!) and I had breakfast together at the agreed time of 7:30. Of course I was 2 mins late, to which she said she thought I wasn’t coming and told me I should set my alarm earlier. Lol love a bit of German directness in the morning, so that was a good start.
When I got to school, my mentor (who is honestly only comparable to Miss Honey from Matilda, and I aspire to be like her in every way) asked me if I had any teaching experience… I considered saying I used to teach my brother how to ride until he fell off and nearly broke his ankle, but instead whacked out our India trip from school.
I will NEVER pass on an opportunity to start a sentence with “this one time in Indiaaahhhh” (sadly not as impressive when said in German), of course the experience of teaching Indian kids in English for a week sounds impressive… I didn’t add the fact that all their textbooks were all wrong, but every time we tried to tell them an apple wasn’t actually a carbohydrate, they argued back so we taught them a load of crap for most of the week lol.
Oh, and I didn’t talk about the fact that like any kids, the Indian children did not want to be in school either, so most of the time we played games of hokey pokey, which with 30 kids is risky and after which I’m pretty sure we lost 4 kids… (Idris if you are reading this hope you are alright xo).
Most people I tell that I’m here teaching English for my year abroad in GERMANY have said “but you study German, why are you teaching English, that must be so easy?”, let me tell you, YOU ARE WRONG.
Turns out I don’t know anything about the English language, AND the little ones ALWAYS need EVERYTHING explaining in German, my head just can’t cope with that kind of thing so, to all those who learn more than 2 languages I SALUTE you.
Switching just between German and English has lead to sentences like “is that in the near from here”, and the best, “first I will go with the bike, then with the bus”, and I’ve also started speaking English with a German accent when I’m teaching. Lol what am I doing, SEND HELP, I’m turning into one of those annoying dicks who comes back to uni after a year saying they “just picked up an accent” – ITS HAPPENING.
*Watches Mary Berry clips on repeat to retain accent*
Telling the kids off in German has also been a bit of a struggle, as much as I try and assert authority… they definitely know I’m bullshitting, ESPECIALLY when they correct my German, which automatically means any authority I HAD just disappears… alright Felix I’ll shout at you in English if you’d prefer, give me a break!!
Speaking of bullshit, on the first day of my new timetable, I was with a new teacher, a new class, and all was very exciting. Lol.
When I arrived, 25 year 6s were actually going mental in the classroom, I’m talking locking each other in cupboard and catapulting pencil cases across the classroom. After I walked into the war zone, one of them helpfully informed me their teacher was ill, so they didn’t have a teacher. With nothing to teach them, I thought “well, this is where I die”.
After 10 long minutes of stretching out my “introduction questions” a teacher came to check on me, I thought my prayers had been answered because both I and the kids had run out of questions to ask each other and three of the boys were starting to line up their catapults again.
Sadly, the teacher spoke lots of German at me, from which I mainly understood “ok have fun I have my own class to teach, it looks like you have everything under control”… things were not under control.
It was then I realised I would have to come up with a lesson FAST, and can I just say I was BLOODY PROUD OF the lesson I came up with given the circumstances (queue hair flick).
I remembered I had been doing about families with the little ones, so told them that they were detectives, and, in pairs, they had to think of 5 questions to ask me about my family, then draw a family tree to fill in, and the first detective pair to fill in their tree won.
It was half way through I realised it was the year 5s not the year 6s who had been doing family trees… no wonder they came up with the questions quickly…
To top it off as well we ran out of time for them to ask me questions, so all they really achieved was writing 5 questions and drawing a tree… BUT I was more impressed none of them actually killed each other, AND when I told another English teacher what had happened she said “well if none of them jumped out of the window you did a good job”.
Job well done then. Maybe I could be a teacher after all…
Actually, I totally take that back, I have also helped with a few lessons with older kids and honestly their English is better than mine, they were talking about the impact of India’s informal work sector and its impact it has on the country as a potential superpower. I’m pretty sure that’s what I did in A level geography (love you Mrs Watson), and at A level German I couldn’t even tell you what ‘superpower’ was in German (actually still can’t). We Brits must definitely be doing something wrong, and (shock) the Germans are definitely doing something right.
Speaking of German efficiency, this week I ventured to the kitchen to cook dinner (after having been too scared to go downstairs and cook, and eating sandwiches for 4 days straight)!
When I had finished cooking my broccoli and pasta (some call me Nigella), I went to put some in a tupperware for the next day because I’m such an adult.
When I opened the cupboard for the tupperware, stuck to the inside of the door was a list of rules for what kind of food can go in which size and shape of tupperware. I think I’m currently living in the only successful communist state currently to exist which runs mainly on its regulations on tupperware. Luckily, I had chosen the correct size and shape… thank god because I’d hate to know the punishment for using the wrong type of tupperware (possibly worse than arriving 2 mins late for breaky??).
Minutes late you can be before Germans are annoyed: -0.5
Amount of German words kids have so far corrected me: 50+
Different types of tupperwear to choose from in this house: 500+
Kid quote of the week: When discussing guinea pigs as pets, one boy quietly says “I like eating guinea pigs”, no one comments and the class moves on, I’m really hoping that was a joke… but am yet to hear a German joke so probs not…
Hope you enjoyed a few anecdotes about school, I am actually really enjoying it despite the few… hiccups so far! Next post soon… maybe really soon because it’s raining here in Boppard today so for a change no beer will be consumed in the sun (one read = one prayer).