So I’ve now had a week and a half of hospitieren (settling in) at my two schools, and it’s safe to say that I love it! I’m at two Mittelschule, which translates literally as middle school but is more of a technically-oriented school for pupils aged between about 9 and 16 who don’t go to a Gymnasium, the equivalent of the old grammar schools (I’ll reserve my opinion on this kind of system for another day!).
My very first day, at Mittelschule Portitz which is in the suburbs, was really good fun. I had a tour of the school with my mentor Carola who is wonderful and about 10 year 9 pupils. This was followed by a little tea party where I answered the obligatory “do you like Justin Bieber/One Direction/generic talentless pop icon” questions and I was presented with a book called How to be German which has certainly gone down well so far! For the rest of the week I’ve mainly been observing classes to see how the teachers interact with the pupils and gauge their level of English. The younger years also had loads of questions for me, some of which were absolute belters, completely bizarre, or both:
“Have you ever eaten a swan?” (Pronounced SV-AAAHN, natürlich!)
“Why is your father Scottish?”
“What’s your favourite kind of omnivore?” (from a year 5 kid who’s only been studying English for 2 years)
I also managed to impress the year 8s when I responded to “what’s your favourite German word?” with Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.
The top prize has to go to a poor guy in year 10, who was stood at the front having an assessed conversation with the teacher about relationships. When asked if he loved his girlfriend, he clearly didn’t understand, panicked and shouted “Yes, I’m in love with you!” Everyone else laughed but nothing was said, he returned to his seat and 5 minutes later he figured out what he’d just confessed in front of everybody and blurted out “ACH SCHEIßE”. They told us not to laugh at mistakes on the course but I really couldn’t help it on this one!
Today I was at my other school, Freie Mittelschule Dr P Rahn & Partner, and I had what could probably be considered my first proper lesson with a bunch of apparently challenging year 10 kids. I basically winged my way through 1 hour and 40 minutes of worksheets having only found out what we were doing 5 minutes before the start of the lesson. Having already had a little bit of experience with teaching (crowd control) I found it equally as exciting as it was terrifying but I can imagine if I’d had no experience I’d have fallen apart after 5 minutes. All was well though (I even got a high-five off one kid as he left) and I left feeling really satisfied and excited for the proper teaching which starts next week. Until then though I have a very long weekend ahead because of the national holiday to celebrate the German Reunification, so I’m sure there’ll be lots to write about for my next update. Tschüßchen!