21 October 2015 @ 02:12 pm
Good things  
There are also good things in my life wedged between the insane work hours I've given myself.

1. I am an aunt! Little CZ was on the evening of October 8th and she looks like a little monkey with her very flexible arms and legs. I'd forgotten how utterly small newborns are! My sister in law (the Mum), Crocky and SIL 2 are enthralled.

2. In honour of the new family member I'm knitting a variation of the Dreamcatcher Blanket. I've chosen different colours and I'm also doing different patterns than the ones suggested. Since I've been trying to use up rests of my yarn stash I've had a difficult time trying to get the squares the same size. I will have to see if I can get them to their target size (six by six inches) through blocking later.

08 September 2014 @ 09:09 pm
Look what I made for T., [ profile] angie_21_237's little girl. Not that she's old enough to care, but I'm really happy with the result and am working on one for Crocky and me.

I used baby-appropriate wool that is washable and dyed in dye that does not threaten anyone's health. Well, and this pattern.

Current Location: Germany, Bremen
Current Mood: okay
06 April 2013 @ 02:22 pm
Book challenge  

Kerstin Gier,Rubinrot - Liebe geht durch alle Zeiten
A story about a 16-year-old girl who has a rare time-travelling gene that runs in her family and causes her to randomly jump through time. Her family is protected and guided by a secretive masonic lodge who have found a way to control her time-travelling, but she soon finds out that they have sinister ulterior motives.
Since it looks like an extremely superfluous love story I was pleasantly surprised by the movie and the book  especially. It is a love story aimed at teens and filled with the expected angst and awkwardness, but the main characters are somewhat more developed than I'd have believed and seem to have character traits beyond a hair colour and klutziness/hunkiness, which is a plus.
Current Mood: okay
20 September 2011 @ 08:48 pm
The Secret Life of the American Teenager  
Lessons learned from the show:
1. If you have unprotected sex, you WILL get pregnant.
2. If you have protected sex, you WILL get pregnant.
3. If you use condoms, they WILL break.
4. If you are on the pill AND use a condom AND have lots of sex, you WILL get pregnant.
5. Girls don't know what masturbation is until they're fifteen.
6. Having an abortion at fifteen is a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE THING.
7. Having a baby at fifteen will make you SO HAPPY. 
8. Being a teenage mother will totally unite your fighting parents AND attract lots of cute guys! 
9. Women belong into the kitchen because they're just GOOD at it.
10. Having a baby at fifteen means your friends will be dying to spend more time with you.   
11. Divorce is WRONG and you WILL get back together. And the best thing about this: you'll have another child! 
12. You cannot keep a secret in High School, EVERYBODY KNOWS EVERYTHING.
13. Teenage dudes will fight tooth and nail to keep their children and get custody, so don't worry, you won't end up raising the kid alone. 
14. It is less likely for people to have a baby if they are married adults taking the same steps to avoid pregancy as teenagers. 
15. If you sleep around a lot before you have a child, your child will be a stillborn preemie. 

Who is funding this show?

I suppose it's good that there is a show that focuses on how having a baby at fifteen is NOT the end of the world and that there are teenage boys who really enjoy fatherhood, but seriously? Having an abortion at fifteen is fine, too, if you don't feel you can handle the responsibility of raising a child just yet and want to focus on, you know, not being a child yourself. 

In the real worlds, babies are not magical plot devices who can fix everything that's wrong in your life story. 
Current Mood: awake
26 January 2011 @ 08:46 pm
"Can anyone tell me anything about what people used to write on in the thirteenth and fourteenth century?"
"They used to carve things in stone."
"... In the thirteenth century, they took notes by carving them in stone...?"
"Well, yes. Until they started to print books."

This person?

NOT writing on this guy's head.
Current Mood: amused
Current Location: Germany, Bremen
Current Music: Palästinalied
28 November 2010 @ 01:18 pm
Good Things  
  • during and after my exam phase and my brother's first couple of weeks of term we didn't play WoW together much, so I let my subscription run out and didn't log on in months. Then I suddenly got an e-mail informing me of the fact that my account may have been compromised and could I please go on the page they gave me and change my password. I did. Three days later my account was banned. Thank you, phishing mail. After a lot of back and forth my account has now been un-banned, thankfully, all my characters and most of the things that I lost restored, too - though my characters were all naked and they'd sold or destroyed everything - which is annoying, because I only got to go along on some of the runs the equip for my main dropped in as a charity case (I'm not a terribly good DD and I think I ought to stick to healing). I hope I'll get to play with my brother again, soon.
  • Correcting my student's essays is awesome. It's interesting not only to see the types of mistakes that first year students still make, but also what kids of topics they touch upon in their stories on"Dreams are nice when..." - they were supposed to portray people in bad situations and write about what kind of good dream they might have.  They mostly mentioned bad marks and not having any friends which they had talked about in class, but some of them also mention poverty, changing schools, or fights. One of them wrote at length about how changing to a different school form can positively affect a person's learning motivation, which is remarkable especially considering that his best friend was told he might fare better at a different school form. They're smart kids.
  • I get to plan the unit on fairy tales for aforementioned first years. I want to invite a story teller, and if my students get far enough with their free speaking and oral presentation skills until January I'm planning on making them tell their own or favourite fairy stories if at all possible, too. Otherwise I'll have them write their own collection of fairy tales, if I get enough time. 
  • after two days of apparently acute forgetfulness my computer has remembered his slave drive. I'm thinking that the data cable broke somewhere and the contact is loose or something - after I moved it it had been loose, but I thought I'd fixed it. Seems the cable itself is broken. Well, for now things are working.
  • Crocky's coming to visit on Wednesday and I'm thinking of taking her to the Christmas market. ♥ I can't believe how much I miss her now that we're not living together anymore, and how much I look forward to each next visit. Work-wise, this arrangement does have it's upsides because I have more time to get stuff done, but other than that I'm looking forward to March, when we'll be living together again.
Current Mood: cold
18 November 2010 @ 10:19 pm
For almost a year now I've had my double name. It's long and cumbersome; according to my grandmother it's the kind of name fit only for a female teacher (well, mission accomplished), and it puzzles people. It's so puzzling, in fact, that nobody gets it right, regardless of how often I repeat it to them or whether or not they've seen it written down. So I thought just going by "Wock" might be easier, no more crude penis puns on my IRL name! Ha!

It felt weird, calling myself "Wock", as though I was giving myself a nickname or impersonating Crocky. I don't feel they are talking to me when people call me Mrs Wock, because it isn't my name. Wing is, Wing-Wock is, Wock is not me. That's Crocky.
Also, it turns out they can get the "Wock" part of my name wrong.

So I guess I'll have to confuse everybody by going back to Wing-Wock tomorrow, which will mean people wind up calling me a string of syllables which approximate the sound of my name again.

Also, I got to watch the theatre rehearsal of a foreign language production staged and directed by a class of 10 and 11-year-olds today. Yes, they did have a teacher there who helped occasionally, but they mostly did everything themselves - one of them directed, the others worked on getting their parts just right with amazing concentration. Granted, there were lapses in concentration towards the end because the props were so inviting, but their competence is absolutely awe-inspiring.
Current Mood: impressed
29 May 2010 @ 01:59 am
Good things, dumb things, bad things.  
Good: Mrs Homophone 2010 can pronounce a TH now. No one had explained to her before that the "th" is a lisped s, and now she gets things right at least when she's reading. Her speaking is still largely TH-free, but her reading has improved absolutely beautifully. It's weird how people can imitate speech impediments without problems (I made her read an entire page while "lisping"), and then get it right (and made her re-insert the "s"s afterwards), and the level of improvement completely knocked me out.

Dumb: I swear I'm a good, inconspicuous businessdyke when I'm at work. I don't run around all "LOOK AT MAH RAINBOW BRACELET!", but things follow me and I can't help it. I teach three teenage boys on Fridays, they're between twelve and fourteen. Today, my students invited me to join their masculinity affirmation ritual. )

Bad: One of my students failed his exam and I don't really know why. He was doing so well, and even though he still has obvious gaps, nothing prepared me for the total wreckage of his last exam; he's not doing himself justice in the content, and the language is all over the place. He can't even bear to look at the paper and he's really demotivated.
Current Mood: tired
24 May 2010 @ 04:30 pm
German EFL learner homophones  
One of the learners in my tutoring centre has the most interesting pronunciation. She was reading a text the other day and it took a while for me to figure out what she was talking about.

Oh. And "sought", forgot about that one. I think she was talking about a sword, about which she had thoughts. But I can't be certain.
Current Mood: calm
07 March 2010 @ 09:44 am
Poetry in the student's native language > every other kind  
One of my students hates poetry, she says.

She doesn't want to have anything to do with it, whenever they're faced with poems in class everything about her speaks her dislike. Her body language, her expression, her moans, how she approaches the topic, the way she deals with it. She just doesn't like poetry and frequently expresses intense dislike when confronted with poetry, she's easily confused and frustrated, and doesn't see the point of dealing with it.

At first I thought it was that specific poem, which was admittedly rather obscure and gave them a second one the next lesson. Again, the same reaction. Frustration, lack of understanding of both content or why rhythm is important at all.

And then I gave her a poem in Russian, her native language. I wish I'd had a camera to capture just how quickly she snatched that sheet ouf of my hands, and how hungrily she read those lines, and how eagerly she engaged with the poem, and the translation provided below. She immediately had a plethora of opinions on this poem, too, I've never seen her that engaged with a poem- any text - ever before.

It was clear that this student, homesick, rejecting all things German, would appreciate the inclusion of her native language in class, but I had just never pictured just how much. I hope I can manage to incorporate the student's native language in German classes in future somehow.
Current Mood: happy
25 February 2010 @ 05:12 pm
A Russian dilemma  
I have a student I tutor who is difficult, mostly because she is homesick and really demotivated.

Homesick because she's from Siberia and she gets tearful whenever she talks about her home. Last time she was rendered incapable of participating in class for twenty minutes because she saw a map of Europe and the East lying about before class and spent five minutes looking at her former home, then sat there, brooding, sullen. She was so bubbly when she came in, and this is not the first time she said she'd remembered something from home and went quiet.

Demotivated because they're analysing poetry, and she can't be bothered because she doesn't see the point both of poetry, what the particular pieces I bring in are about (they're supposed to work with Romantic poetry, and the Golden Age poets are a good match for obvious reasons), and why analysis is a good idea.

Now I'm thinking about bringing in a few poems in Russian which deal with similar subject matter as the German poems we're doing in class. I'm not sure it's such a good idea because I don't want her to feel bad, obviously. Still, it'd be an excuse to pick a native speaker's brain on Pushkin in the original, and possibly even Achmatova, because she's obsessed with Stalin's Russia, although if anything is likely to depress her, this'd probably be most likely to.
Current Mood: curious
15 February 2010 @ 03:31 pm
Fidgety students  

Yes, I'm trying to keep myself from thinking about my exam tomorrow. My two youngest students in the tutoring centre are in sixth and seventh grade respectively and they're at the tutoring centre because their written work is poor. Writing is not the most popular task for many kids, and the fact that their lesson is on Friday afternoon, after school does not help. These lively kids are usually very fidgety and find it very hard to concentrate - no wonder, given the fact that they're in the centre for ninety minutes between two and four on after a week of work!

Last week I had one act out an action with the other had to construct a sentence in the tense that he was revising, and all their sleepiness and demotivation went away as if by magic. Earlier, I had them set each other vocab tests on the board in adjacent rooms to give them an excuse to move around, write on the board, and teach each other rather than doing another test in written work.
A few weeks previous, I had them set each other dictations, which is a little too hard for the kid in sixth grade, but surprisingly doable. Spelling games like Scrabble, Boggle and Quiddler adapted for the needs of my students are also really popular and we usually use those during the last ten minutes. They've been known to insist on staying in ten minutes longer just to finish a game, and they do remember the words they used during the game, so that seems to work, but lately, I've been running out of ideas for quick things that are cost-effective with regards to the lesson time they take up.

My youngest student has not only failed their last vocab test, but he's also supposed to learn the irregular verbs - he never does his homework and learning things by heart seems to be nigh impossible for him. When we talked about their vocab learning methods, the younger dude said something along the lines of, "If I ever did learn my vocabulary lists, I'd probably copy them down and learn them by heart." Pwned by conditional II there, kid.
So ever since I heard that they had to study the irregular verbs I've been trying to come up with ways to make this more fun, and I think I might have found something:

Crocky uses this to teach her younger piano students to read sheet music, and I'm thinking of making something similar for irregular verbs. It's just a slightly shinier way of getting him to quiz himself, really, but who can resist a d12 - even if it happens to have irregular verb forms written on it?!
Also, it's a perfect excuse for me to have fun with cardboard, glue, and possibly even adhesive book covering. Other obvious options include crossword puzzles and bingo, but they also involve sitting down, and this at least allows some moving around. I realise it's not that much.

Are there any other way of getting students to improve their vocabulary? I'm quite partial to the vocabulary duel, too, which might still work with their age group, and similar things to make quizzing each other sound more appealing - especially if they involve moving around.
Current Mood: busy
Current Location: Germany, Hanover
08 January 2010 @ 12:00 pm
Abi 2011  
Some of my tutees who will be taking their exams in '11 have "The Media" as a topic. Since I have the good fortune of teaching them again today (grumble. Why can't the holidays last until Monday, huh?), I'm looking into texts to supplement their reading as preparation for their exams for those who better at content and might be needing the extra edge if I can't get them up to scratch in written expression until February '11.

I can't say I'm terribly creative when it comes to texts they can use, especially since I don't know yet what their teachers are going to make of the topic, but I think they all will want to talk about media and politics, therefore I wish they could read Metaphors Can Kill I and/or Metaphors and War, Again by George Lakoff and and could watch this lecture by the same:

Current Mood: chipper
02 December 2009 @ 09:59 pm
One of the downsides of studying at home is that I get far too distracted. While reading my texts for my didactics exam I caught myself doodling lesson plans, tried to come up with exercises for Friday (something I scheduled for Friday morning), tried to make up games for my students, tried to think of think of fun writing exercises I can use to get the other students to write, of songs I can use for the listening comprehension crew. I watched a blue tit, planned a story.

But I suppose productivity is a good thing.

Blue tit (3) )

Also, the moon is particularly beautiful today:
A round, yellow moon. Very pretty.

It's made of cheese (3) )

I hope everyone had a good first Advent Sunday. Do you do anything to celebrate it? Crocky and I lit the first candle of our wreath (a tradition which was supposedly invented by the theologian who founded the school where I did my second internship, Johann Hinrich Wichern) and read together in the evening. I would have liked to sing with her, too, but she was busy on Sunday, so we're doing that tonight. I love singing with her.

Current Mood: calm
28 July 2009 @ 06:11 pm
Dummes auf deutsch  
Ich sollte es eigentlich ja besser wissen, aber ich habe diesen Artikel gelesen:

Gleichgeschlechtliche Partnerschaften - Kinder brauchen keine Hetero-Eltern

Und dann hab ich noch einen Fehler gemacht - ich habe die Kommentare auch gelesen. Hier mal eine Auswahl, es ist zum Schreien:

"Ja, es muss ein tolles Gefühl sein wenn man in der Klasse oder auf dem Pausenplatz mitteilen darf das man eben nicht ein Mami und Papi zu Hause hat sondern zwei Mami oder zwei Papi...
Den dem Hedonismus und Egoismus moderner Erwachsener dürfen keine Grenzen mehr gesetzt werden."

"In einem Punkt verlieren einige heterosexuelle Paare doch drastisch, wenn homosexuelle Paare bei der Adoption gleich gestellt werden: und zwar jene hetersexuellen Paare, die auf natürlichem Wege keine Kinder bekommen können.
Denn um die gleiche Anzahl Kinder bewerben sich dann plötzlich viel mehr Paare. Und die Wahrscheinlichkeit, den Kinderwunsch erfüllt zu bekommen, sinkt für Mann-Frau-Paare, die biologisch nicht Eltern werden können, drastisch."

"Denn eines ist mal klar, die Anzahl der Kinder die freiwillig zur Adoption frei gegeben werden, ist verschwindend gering und die klassische Familie IST für Kinder der beste Ort um auf zu wachsen und nichts anderes."

"Nur, weil so manche bunte Erscheinungen des menschlichen Lebens immer hoffähiger werden und sich auch ein entsprechendes Lobbywesen dazu gesellt, ist hier noch längst nicht alles im Sinne der Natur."

"Ich hätte auch erwartet, dass Homo-Kinder öfter homo werden."

"Homosexualität ist natürlich- aber ob es natürlich ist, Kinder durch homosexuelle Paare großzuziehen? Homos haben gegenüber Heteros in der Gesellschaft keine Nachteile. Sie können es offen ausleben ebenso wie Heteros."

Was soll einem dazu noch einfallen...?

So, ich gehe mal wieder an die Arbeit hier.
13 January 2008 @ 06:16 pm
Culture clashes?  
So, I want to become a teacher. There are many slightly derisive voices saying that our teachers are only really fit for teaching the middle class population they came from, and they do have a point. Now most of the students in my class have far more experiences with different cultures than I do and radically different backgrounds. Most of them migrated to Germany before they came to school here in Hamburg. I can't imagine what it must be like to be from Turkey, from Albania, from Bolivia - even from Bavaria in Hamburg. Germany must be the most xenophobic country I have ever been to, and living in Willhelmsburg on top of that is not likely to make it any better, as that is one of the areas that other Hamburgians usually tend to look down upon.

I must say that I keep feeling intimidated. How can I, with my rather limited background, be the right teacher for people whose experiences and contexts are so different from mine?
For example. I try and use topics that might interest my students and relate to their world (using popular books, movies, TV shows in my classes), and with my suburban, upper middle-class grammar school classes that usually worked and was not too difficult, as their experiences were very, very similar to mine, but with my current students, I haven't got a clue.

Another example for differences: I looked up some of their favourite artists I didn't know. I didn't have to look up Rihanna or Christina Aguilera, but I'd never even heard of Massiv or Muhabbet. So. Contrasts.

Read more... )
Current Location: Uelzen
Current Mood: thoughtful
17 November 2007 @ 06:59 pm
And in more than one sense, but most of all emotionally. I know that Hamburg is a city in which a lot of children live in broken homes or come from incredibly poor and difficult backgrounds.

I feel so silly. I knew these things were going on, but hearing people talk about them who had witnessed them made them more real, and more horrible.

Somehow, I am at the same time both sad and glad that I did not take part in such a more "difficult" trip instead of the six comparatively easy weeks at the kindergarten. I would have wanted to do something to make them - all of them - feel better - but I would have never been able to, and that, and the terrible burden of knowing that there are children who are raised in such horrible conditions, would have just about killed me.  This seminar really makes me want to find a way to reach out to children living in such difficult conditions and help them, one at a time, so that I can help without breaking.
Current Music: Subway to Sally - 2000 Meilen unterm Meer
Current Mood: exhausted
Current Location: Hamburg
26 July 2007 @ 05:19 pm
From the mouths of babes  
  • A girl, aged 3, and a boy, aged four, playing at horses. Suddenly, the boy falls over, stops whinnying, and the girl and another friend look on. A moment's hesitation. Then,
    "Hey, Ben's dead! Let's EAT him! Yum, yum yum!"

  • A girl, aged 4, and a boy, aged 4, sitting at a table. On the table is a naked baby doll as I enter.
    "What are you guys doing?"
    "We want to eat the baby!"
    *splutter* "Why?"
    "It's so rosy!"

  • A boy, aged 7, comes into the room, all dressed up in black skirts and dresses so that he is entirely covered
    "And what are you? A ghost with a suntan?"
    "I am a dementor!"
    "Argh! Expecto Patronum!"
    "Hm. ... Ok, I am Lord Voldemort. Avada Kedavra!"
I had never expected the internship at the kindergarten to be so highly entertaining. There were a few more things, but I forgot them. The children are hilarious. And ill. Of course I caught the first cold I could get, and am now at home, with razorblades down my throat and my head in an oven. I doubt that I will be able to join tomorrow's trip to a playground, somehow, and that's probably for the better, because standing around on a wet playground does not really sound like a good idea right now.
04 December 2006 @ 06:14 pm
Kids today  
No news from our neighbours. Hm. Oooh, I hope it things aren't too bad over there... My grandma called the ambulance a few times a few years ago, after her dizzy spell, and stayed in the local hospital for a few days each time, but it was nothing serious - and people do tend to get more worried even about minor things when they get older. Ooh, I hope it's like that.

On my way back home today I saw an idyllic scene that can probably only be found in Poppenbüttel's housing areas around five o'clock in the evening. It was in the abandoned little area next to the path, a concrete square with a park bench, which is for some reasons kept separate from the path by high hedges. I was on my way back from the bus stop, going through the housing area round the corner, and I saw two cute little boys, both twelve or fourteen years old, who were frolicking and playing in the darkness.

Bloody toasting each other with deodorant and lighters.
In the darkness, I saw one of the guys actually point a lighter at the other, lighting it, bright orange flames licking over the other boy's sweater, who backed away, giving a small yelp of surprise.

I had already heard their screams and yelps all the time during my five-minute walk through the housing area and had already readied myself for the worst, taken out my mobile, unlocked the key pad, ready to press 110, my head filled with dreadful scenes from the Kitty Genovese case.
Pretty shocked, I stopped and asked what the hell they thought they were up to.
"Nothing!" Of course not.
Boy 1 (the one who had been grilled by his friend earlier): "We're just playing."
Boy 2: "You know, with the fire and the deodorant..."
Me: "Hey, you do know that's dangerous, don't you? That did look dangerous, the way your sweater nearly caught fire just now!"
Boy 1: "Naah, it doesn't really catch fire."
Me: "Oh, really?"
Boy 1: "Really, see, it's made from a really resistant material."
Me: "Still, do point the things away from you body, understand?"
Both: "Yeah, yeah."
Me: "Seriously, it's hot! And dangerous!"
Boy 2: "Nah, it's not really dangerous."
Boy 1: "Yeah, we're careful."
Me: "Hmm..."
Both: "Really!"
Me: "Remember - away from the body."
Both: "Yeah, yeah."

And off they went, quickly. Maybe I ought to have stuck around for a while, to see if one of the two would catch fire, but I didn't. I do regret it now. And although I could have sworn that even though I did look closely, as close as the light of that streetlight would permit, for signs of uneasiness or distress, there did not seem to be any. I feared one of the two would be bullied, but it did not look like that... Ooooh, I hope they won't burn each other...
Current Mood: worried
08 November 2006 @ 11:42 pm
Stranger Than Fiction  
What is better than good ole mise en abyme and Emma Thomson?

Good ol' mise en abyme, Emma Thomson and Maggie Gyllenhaal! 

Oh, and some guy, the main character or something. And Dustin Hoffman! As a literary professor, no less. Goodness.

Usually I don't like it when they muck about with diegesis and hypodiegesis, especially not when both writer's block AND hints at romantic involvement between writers and their characters are involved, but anything's fine as long as Emma's in it. 
I am valiantly going to stand all the mucking about for her sake, the woman is a goddess.

Apart from that - I hate the middle of the week. 
As always, today has been a typical not Orange, but Sleep Deprivation Wednesday, a mix of "I-want-to-leave-this-vale-of-tears"- crappiness mixed with all the small, good stuff like unexpected meetings, muffins, warm cups of tea, friendly professors and easier-than-imagined assignments, taking out books from the library, nice weather, and all that.

Oooh, especially bus rides with teenagers.

Girl 1: "... and then I met her. It's really a shame that she's not in touch with anyone, and it's really getting on my tits."
Girl 2. "Yeah. Talked to her lately? I had the same conversation with (Girl 4) a few weeks ago, you know."
Girl 1: "Seriously?"
Girl 2: "Yeah. Oh, did Girl 3 also tell you about all the problems she had and how her family was going to go back to her country? And Girl 4 has seen her last week. I really don't get that woman. She's off to live under a bridge, doesn't even let us know which one..." 

Apparently it's not as serious as I thought it was going to be. I hate to be impolite, but that last line nearly cracked me up, the way she said it.

I'm still living from day to day, and from weekend to weekend, though... I wonder if that's ever going to change in the near future and with a usual lack of self-preservation part of me hopes it does not, because part of me likes being miserable and mopy, hoping that Crocky might call, thinking about her every other minute. Paaathetic
I also wish they had invented little mini-cams that could project a video image of whatever your loved one is doing straight into your glasses if you want to, with a small mic in the frame so that we could talk to each other and see each other wherever we are. 

Hm, no. Sounds as though it would be very straining for the eye-sight, so how about a little monitor set into the back of your hand that can also be used as your mobile phone, your ID, your student ID, your bus ticket and your library card? Could be your ipod and your credit card as well, and various other membership thingies. It would have to be fixed permanently on the skin (and waterproof). Oh, and it'd have to run on solar energy, although there definitely ought to be an "off" or "invisible" option for those who do not want to be visible to the entire population all the time. 
Freedom? Pshaw. Inhabitants of the vale of tears do not want freedom. They only want to feel free.
Current Mood: strange
Current Location: My Room
Current Music: I think it's "Have A Little Faith In Me" by Joe Cocker
12 June 2006 @ 07:08 pm
Maybe I really should not become a teacher because...  
... they are everywhere! In the streets, in the schools, on every internet site I innocently come upon, there are flocks of them, teenagers, mostly, but there are also some who are in age groups when such behaviour should belong to the past. "Goths". "Emo"s. People who can't make up their minds as to what to call themselves this week. Americans, mostly, but also a few British people and Germans. 

they write poetry. Well, they call it poetry. Mostly, it's just random lines, often very badly spelled small-case one-word lines, and not because they are fans of e.e.cummings, but because they are lazy. I even asked one of those perpetrators, and they said that their spelling (which even turned out to be quite interesting in some parts if bad) was accidental, they just did not bother checking, because "this is the internet and wat do you want to do sue me next time ok?"

Maybe it is all one big conspiracy and it's not really bad poetry which in fact is not, in any sense, poetry, but a code language of a secret society? There certainly is a pattern, all their poetry contains two or more of the following words:
1. Death
2. Black
3. Pain
4. Nothing
5. Blood. 

Right, maybe, I am unfair. I am not a poet, so I should not judge their efforts. And theirs are similar to what mine have been, back in my "crappy poetry"-phase. And maybe it's better that I did not have the ongoing anonymous support of the internet back then, or I might have started being like them, vomiting up these "poems" and then putting them on internet pages festering with similar "art", certain of the praise of all others. GAH. And everybody has those emotions, but then, every teenager has them. And that's the point. What I don't get is why they have become trendy to be depressed. Yes, trendy. What I learnt in my psy courses was a serious mental affliction has become a trend. Which is annoying and very dangerous, because now I never know which one of those self-proclaimed "highly depressed" people I have to seriously worry about. There are too many real depressed people hiding online.
And why do there have to be so many of them? And why do they walk around telling people they "express" themselves by their clothing and go round telling people that they are a goth and do not like to be labeled in the same e-mail?

Gah. Why is this a life style, and why has it reached teenagers? Why why why? 

And I don't want to have to teach them. I don't want to face a class made up people dressed in black with solemn faces who think that they have seen it all and that they now can judge about life, the universe and everything with the experience of their thirteen to twenty years. 

Tags: ,
Current Mood: annoyed
Current Location: Glasgow University Library
Current Music: Someone announcing that the library will close in 20 min.
15 January 2006 @ 01:03 pm

Seriously, what's up with kids these days?
In the past, when people shouted names at me, it was something fairly insulting, the whole "Fat Cow!" - "Slimy bitch!" - routine. No, nobody's reliving their sad childhood, I am not traumatised, everyone probably has gone through that. The thing is - in the past, when I got shouted at, it was something insulting.
Today, all they can manage is a chorus of: "Lesbian!"

Now, seriously, how do they expect me to react to that? I thought the aim of calling someone names was to make them mad or make them cry, but what on earth are you supposed to say to that?
"Yes, actually, well done for figuring that out."?
So, what's next? "German!" - "Student!"

Things you shout at people from the comforting midst of your group of friends are normally taunting, are normally insults.
They did not even use a derogatory term. Apparently, "lesbian" is considered bad enough. Probably, I benefit from the fact that most people don't bother learning the appropriate derogatory terms, it's only men who get called names, gay or not. Does this leave me glad because it means that I get to feel superior due to the supremely lame tauntings, or mad because they think that "lesbian" is a derogatory term? I mean, I know that "gay" tends to be overused especially by young males to describe anything they don't like, resulting in sentences as meaningful as "Man, this traffic light is so gay! It's never green when I'm here!" - but I didn't know that the same applies to "lesbian".

I've been thinking a lot about those guys lately, seeing as I have seen them nearly every day. Most of them look as though they could be a bunch of rather nice, if bored kids who have nothing better to do in their free time than walking up and down Dumbarton Road.
Seriously - whenever we are out shopping, there they are, skulking around at the parking lot of the supermarket, smoking. Is that considered a hobby among cool youngsters today?
On the weekends, they girls are in full war paint and matching attire and they hang around at the bus stop opposite the library. Makes me think why they're not in the library, it must get cold out there, especially if you're only wearing mini skirts, or baggy jeans and friggin' T-shirts.
It's January, guys!
They seem to have nothing better to do whatsoever. They might as well go somewhere by bus, since they are waiting at a bus stop, and yet, there they are, just standing around that bus stop, smoking.

It is strange, there are two more packs like that, once consisting of about six boys around fifteen, and a group strangely consisting of five girls and one boy, who looks much younger than the lasses. I have never seen them actually do anything, but I see them at the same corner nearly every day on my way home from the university.

What makes them interesting apart from the fact that they use non-derogatory terms for insults and like shouting at me is that they are the age group I'm going to teach, and I wonder what could be done to get these kids something to do. Well, apart from homework.
They puzzle me. Seriously, they seem to have nothing to do, but even though they're always hanging around in front of it, I've never seen them in the library, and I've been there pretty often. But then, maybe I've been unlucky.

How can you get these kids interested in something, how can you make them do something instead of hanging around at a bus stop in the cold?
Even watching TV and eating would be a positive change, some of these girls look as though they'd snap in two if you bumped into them...
A lot of them seem like the guys in my school, and that'd mean that even though they're all tough and dare calling people names in the face - provided they're not alone, and tough enough to smoke at their age, and tough enough to listen to loud, angry music, they're probably also just pretty insecure and rather direction-less.
Tut, not even able to think of proper insults, for heaven's sake!
Although that's probably good, come to think of it. :)

It makes me wonder if that's the kind of youths I'll be facing in my classes, and the odds are high that I will be. Now, how do you broaden someone's horizon without being the cool ideal Mr. Keating-teacher type?

Everything worked out alright during my internship, not one kid like these anywhere to be seen. But then, the school in which I did my internship was Poppenbüttel, a rather privileged upper middle class suburb. There are some problems, but they are absolutely marginal compared to those which teachers in the centre of Hamburg have to deal with on a daily basis. These range from serious drug addiction to children whose parents suddenly get lost due to troubles with Hamburg's underworld, to schools in which free school lunches had to be reintroduced so that the kids would get at least one meal per day.
I may be eager to work with kids, but I am pretty sure that however rewarding it might be to work in St. Pauli, it is not something I could do for long without cracking.

Even with these kids in this comparatively average income-area... Now, I am not a Cool Person, and I doubt that I'll ever be, and if they're like the guys in my class they'll only listen to Cool People... but all the same, there must, must, must be a way to get them interested in something.
Hm, wait, that's a bit rich coming from someone who doesn't have any real hobbies, so maybe I could start getting some hobbies myself before I think about making a change in the lives of innocent kids.

Many hugs!
Tags: ,
Current Mood: pensive
29 June 2005 @ 07:38 pm
Fleas and Elephants  
There is a herd of young elephants over my head.
Incessantly, they stomp through our hall, climbing our staircaises and roaming our kitchen in search of food, once in a while a younger male trumpets his discomfort.
They roam the basement and seem to be knocking against every wall on their way up and down our stairs.

And the cause of all the noise?
My brother, organising a LAN party.
And today we were told in pedagogics that due to the new media, many children were no longer taking part in social activities, always sitting around at home, alone, glued to the screen, no longer doing physical excercise.

Anyone who fears that is cordially invited to come round to see my ickle brother and his friends coming together from the entire neighbourhood, carrying computers around - and I am not talking about laptops here-, driving my grandmother out of the living room, stomping up and down the stairs carrying monitors... No worries. They are not sitting at home alone in a darkened room. And they do excercise. Those things are heavy, after all.

They are all together in our living room at the moment, each with his computer, enjoying cable jackstraws. (Julian: "Alright, I need the socket, so I'm gonna pull something out. Hey, what's this? Is this your cable? No? He-ey! Guys! Is this anyone's cable? Hello? Ok, fine..." - Flo: "Noooooo!!! What happened? NOOO!! My monitor just broke down!")

Flo told me that now that I am going to be a teacher he does not want to be seen in public with me any longer. He is so cute. When I got to know him he *was* a Flo, a flea. A small, cute, very precocious eight-year-old. Now he is a fourteen-year old, leering monster and a foot taller than me and any of his classmates. Luv'im.
All of them.
Current Mood: cheerful
Current Location: The Basement