25 March 2015 @ 05:43 pm
Day 2: Wednesday: Leipzig  
On the second day we explored Leipzig. I discovered that my cold was not quite gone and thus my head felt as though it'd been packed in cotton wool the entire day.

Leipzig )
Current Location: Germany, Leipzig
Current Mood: sick
01 April 2013 @ 09:51 pm
Book challenge  

Phillipp Möller - Isch geh Schulhof
A book about someone who studied adult education and works as a substitute teacher at a primary school in one of Berlin's poorest, most ethnically diverse and violent areas, his students, his struggles, failures and successes.
Another lower-class-zoo book. I worked with similar children, their fates are heartbreaking, though their lower-class second language acquired German does sound funny sometimes it feels uncomfortable to poke fun at them. They really don't know any better. Their lives are filled with neglect, loneliness, abuse, and deprivation, so a lack of grammatical correctness can be permitted under these circumstances, surely? Still, the book is entertaining to read especially for the school politics and recognisable classroom situations, though the occasionally very sanctimonious preachiness of the author does get old. He keeps saying he is no expert - which isn't entirely true - and then goes on to complain about his burnt-out, overworked, overtaxed co-workers as though it were a personal failure rather than a political failure that put them in that position. So, mixed feelings about this one, but entertaining enough to keep me reading. Bremen and Berlin have very similar school politics with staffing decisions and the release of official position numbers being delayed until seconds before the beginning of the holidays, untrained substitute teachers being employed instead of real teachers to cut costs, class sizes increased to unmanageable numbers, school reforms being employed frequently and haphazardly without any realistic plans being made as to their concrete implementation. It's a nightmare, and it's somehow good to see that this city is not alone in its chaos.
Current Mood: content
Current Location: Germany, Bremen
15 January 2013 @ 06:43 pm
Paper thin  
This is a work-related whine post, mostly to remind my future self of my lowly beginnings as a teacher. So, teaching. 

I get up at four every morning and work until quarter past six. 

That's really all you need to know about my life right now.

I go to work at five to seven. I leave at two-ish, get home at three in the afternoon on most days after wrapping up at school, meetings, and correcting after class. Sometimes later. Then, there's a break until five, and then I work until nine, when it's off to bed. 

The getting-up-at-four is partly due to Crocky getting up at five most days and therefore having to go to bed early, but mostly, it's just that I can't find enough hours in the day to pull through this mind-boggling workload that I'm facing.

There's just too much to do. 

One more week and I'll be out of exam season for a while (and I'll be able to wittle down my daily work hours to ten again, at last). 
26 April 2012 @ 11:16 pm
I am one!

Somehow, I survived. I did not do as well as I had hoped, but neither as badly as I had feared. 

I'm a teacher.  ♥
08 January 2011 @ 11:26 pm
Fairy Tale Unit  

For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you're taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays.

- C.S. Lewis, The Horse and his Boy

I'm looking for a professional story teller to tell my fifth graders the fairy tales that they're working on. Should I get to teach that unit, that is. It all depends.
Current Mood: cheerful
19 December 2010 @ 09:24 pm
More books  
Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum oder: Wie Gewalt entstehen und wohin sie führen kann (The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, Or: how violence develops and where it can lead), by Heinrich Böll.
Independent divorcée Katharina Blum meets a bankrobber, falls in love, has an affair in the Germany of the seventies. The most influential tabloid react with a very intrusive smear campaign claiming that she's knowingly harboured a criminal and slept around a lot which destroys her reputation, causes several threatening and molesting phone calls and eventually leads to her shooting the journalist heading the campaign when he molests her.
I like Heinrich Böll, I liked this book. What disconcerted me in the lessons I've visited that were about this book is how much they tend to downplay the sexual violence, which was frustrating to watch.

Die Feuerzangenbowle, by Heinrich Spoerl and Hans Reimann.
Distinguished writer Dr. Hans Pfeiffer attends a party at which a lot of the title drink is consumed and his equally distinguished friends reminisce and share nostalgic stories about their school days and the tricks they played on their teachers. This causes him to lament the fact that he has never attended a school and a drunk plan is hatched for him to attend school. He does and gets to experience this indispensible chapter in life, play tricks on teachers, and otherwise experience school life first-hand.
Though it does have some serious issues I love both this book (the inscription! "Dieser Roman ist ein Loblied auf die Schule, aber es ist möglich, dass die Schule es nicht merkt" - roughly, "This novel is an encomium on school education, but it is possible that school educators will not notice this") and also the 1944 movie, in spite even of the Nazi overtones and the chilling circumstances of the production. I consider both book and movie essential for an understanding of contemporary German culture because of all the issues this touches, which is why I find it odd that it hasn't been translated.
27 November 2010 @ 07:10 pm
Gender Lessons learned from School Books  

I have the sneaking suspicion that there are more and more aggressive and stereotypical gender-norm affirming messages in today's German EFL books than in the ones we had in my school days. You may say that I am only saying that because I have only vague and fond memories, but I checked. I couldn't find examples similar to the ones I fond in today's EFL books anywhere in the eighties editions I have at home.

While working with the new editions during the last half year, I found gems like these: 

1. In the noughties edition of Green Line A1 for learners in their first year there's a dialogue on various school activities and the plans people are making for the weekend. It's a very short dialogue and briefly runs down the various activities the school offers, their times and places, and then includes an exchange along the lines of: 

"Oh yes, we could go to a concert, there's this band I like, called FourYou..."
"Oh, not a boy band, Donna! Ask another girl to come with you, I want to play ball in the park with my friends instead."

2. Also in the noughties edition of Green Line A4, there is a dialogue entitled "Football for girls?" in which two girls debate whether a team for girls would be a good thing to have at their school. One argues that girls "are just not as good as boys" and therefore a football team for girls would not be a good idea, but then acknowledges that it might be a good idea to try out a team, anyway, and see who shows up. In the end, she still says that boy's football is better because of their butts. Because girls cannot like football for the sake of the sport, they must like it for the sake of the players.

3. In the 2001 edition of Camden Town 4, the book for the Realschule, we have the usual national stereotype text in the first unit. What's typical for US America (fast food and chewing gum), what's typical for Great Britain (queuing and tea), what's typical for Germany (according to my student, who had to think about this for a couple of minutes, it's "Potatoes.")? That sort of thing. Our protagonists eat in a fast food restaurant, discuss national stereotypes (fast food is apparently super different in Great Britain's McD's), and then they decide what to do with their afternoons, leading to this exchange: 

"We could go shopping!"
"Ugh, Shopping is a girl's disease!"

4. Another one from the Green Line series,  this time A6. They have an excerpt from Nick Hornby's "Slam". Not a bad idea as such - there is a learner's edition that goes with it which they could read after reading the excerpt, and it's in a series on "Growing up". My problem? Slam offers the  teen father's perspective on a teen pregnancy. While it's a good thing that there is someone who writes a book about teenage fatherhood in the first place, in A6 this appears to be the only text on teen pregnancies after a lengthy unit on the perils of alcohol intake and drugs. Also, there's the casual transphobia, among a lot of things that made me uneasy about Slam.

So, you might think this are really minor things, but usually, people make very careful decisions on what is supposed to be included in those very short recorded dialogues and why.

So why is it so vital to remind today's EFL learners of what is proper behaviour for their gender in their English classes? Why do ten-year-old kids need to learn that it's embarrassing for boys to like boy bands? Why do fourteen-year-olds have to be told that shopping is for girls and that it's highly unlikely that girls can be good at football and should look at butts instead?
Current Mood: annoyed
11 August 2010 @ 03:33 pm
"The African-American Experience"  
That's the title of one of the topics our Abi (A-level) candidates have to do.

Anyone else worried?


I was secretly convinced they'd read "To Kill a Mocking Bird", but it turns out they're reading "Black Like Me", which, while I have to admit that I don't know it, doesn't really inspire confidence, either (a white man in blackface goes to segregated New Orleans and writes about his experiences - why not at least take "Soul Sister", which has the experiences of a white woman passing as black?), and they're supposed to listen to "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash:

The students taking the advanced course are reading "A Lesson Before Dying", which, again, I'm not familiar with, so I have to wait and see what it's like. Still, the fact that it's not by a white author makes me hopeful. 

I fear that neither curriculum inspires great confidence in the classes of '11 and '12's knowledge of this topic. Still, what with white Europeans teaching white Europeans about racial segregation and the situation of POC in the in the US today, I'm not sure what else I'd expect. Can't say I'm all that convinced I'd do better.
Current Location: Hannover Oststadt
Current Mood: doubtful
25 June 2010 @ 02:08 am
Tutoring doesn't fix everything, 1868 edition  
My most recent acquisition is a German book on essay writing for German students from 1868, though the book I own is a later edition from 1893. The author, Karl Leo Cholevius, a German teacher teaching at a Gymnasium, issues his advice in letter format to an imaginary addressee who is an Abi or A-level student in need of essay writing advice.

The book, Praktische Anleitung zur Abfassung Deutscher Aufsätze (Practical Guide to Writing German Essays) was a success at the time because it wasn't a collection of rhetorical figures of speech, but offered a how-to approach for, as the author says, "weaker students" who might require it. As one of the few of its kind it was an immediate success at the time.

In the second letter (and the second paragraph in the excerpt below), he addresses tutoring and its lack of usefulness when it comes to essay writing:

I'm too lazy to translate, but the short version is that he made the experience that it's usually the sons of rich fathers who'd like some tutoring a couple of months before their finals and think that paying for private lessons will fix everything.

Right now, I can think of three students I've been tutoring in the course of this school year to whom this applies. Heh.
Current Mood: nerdy
12 March 2009 @ 09:13 pm
Guns and moons  
Yesterday evening I discovered that the full moon was reflected in our skylight in a way that, to my delight, made it look as though we had four moons. I did not manage to take proper pictures of it, but it looked pretty awesome. Ever since I went to the planetarium with my mother for the first time and heard about the amount of natural satellites in our solar system I regretted that we have only one (hey, Saturn has over fifty, Jupiter over sixty, even Mars managed to catch himself two, but out loser planet sticks with one).

More moon (3) )

Other than that, I am still shocked about the tragedy at the German school in Baden-Württemberg yesterday. Another school shooting, more cookie-cutter articles on it which read exactly like the ones from last time, covers full of crying teenage girls, speculations about shooters, Counter-Strike and porn and still no idea what to do to keep students from running amok in our schools. I doubt that any of the suggestions that have been made - psychologists at schools (didn't help Finland), metal detectors (didn't help the US), even stricter gun control (didn't help us)- is going to help.
What is so baffling that it is nearly funny is what is going on in the comment sections of major German papers - some blame the "injured pride of the German middle class male which does not commit honour crimes like lower class children with a background in migration, but run amok with guns". Another user "blames the miss-matched gender ratio in the German educational system", the "lack of role-models", and yet another user muses that it might be a good idea to force parents to notify the school if they have weapons so that those can have an eye on their kids, yet others want a nation-wide ban of Counter-Strike.
And I? I don't know. I really don't. It is horrible that so many students feel left out at our schools that some of them snap and shoot their teachers and fellow-students, and I think that if something has to change, it ought to be that before our gun laws become even stricter, or we implement a nationwide male quota in the educational system, and school psychologists can't hurt there.
Current Mood: cold
10 August 2008 @ 07:11 pm
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie  
Crocky and I are reading this book together:


The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Sparks.
This is a riveting tale of a school teacher in her prime who is teaching the girls at her all girls school with her very own, unconventional means. She does this most often by disregarding any sort of given curriculum or even timetable, relating tales form her own youth instead, which are often populated with strange and erotic adventures. The girls, all of whom she considers as being able of being the "créme de la créme", love the unconventional teacher. They even have started writing second-rate real person fiction about the school teacher in her prime and her wayward, deceased soldier lover Hugh. The main characters include Sandy, who is famous for her accent, and her friends, one of whom is famous for sex, and all of whom are famous for something.

Their parents as well as the headmistress are rather sceptical of the school teachers methods and object to them. Miss Jean Brodie's students all have avery close bond to their teacher, who thinks that they all might have been the "créme de la créme" and who often reminds them that her students profit from her being in her prime. In the end, one of the student betrays Miss Brodie, though, with grave consequences for the school teacher.

Seriously, though - in spite of the many annoying, redundant repetitions of what has been said before twice a paragraph, like the fact that Miss Brodie is in her prime, or what the students will be famous for, this book is still charming. This is not only due to the frequent prolepses in the narration and analepses in the character narration, which make this otherwise sometimes quite dull narrative very poignant, but also due to the characterisation of the girls.

I saw the movie adaptation starring Dame Maggie Smith, of course, and even though I hate Miss Brodie with the passion of a thousand flaming suns, I loved Maggie Smith's performance.

Reading the book, I feel as though I lack the background to properly appreciate this novel. It seems to draw on other sources far more than on the tradition of school novels, even though Crocky is supposed to read it as one for a course. What baffles me most about this is the reception, or what I've read of it. It seems that Miss Brodie, who is an at best ambiguous and often extremely negative character in the novel is read as some kind of romantic model teacher, which she is decidedly not.

Like many literary paragons of education, Miss Brodie's education revolves entirely around their own person and which works only under her charismatic leadership which transcends the borders of schools and has a grave effect on her student's life. It is good for teachers to have an impact on the lives of their students, but I doubt that it is necessary for that to abandon all kinds of lessons and impart knowledge only in the form of private chit-chat, disregarding sciences and mathematics almost altogether. Miss Brodie's methods of selection are also highly self-centred, an attribute which can also be used to describe most of what this character does.
In the end, I am glad that Sandy betrays her, as her will to rule her students lives "forever" is megalomaniac and creepy in my eyes.
Current Mood: cold
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 Mood: thoughtful
Current Location: Uelzen
21 November 2007 @ 07:50 pm
"Maybe we sort too soon."  
In the Potterverse, the future life of a child is determined when they are eleven without any possibility of changing that later on by sorting the child into one of the four houses, influencing how it is going to be perceived later in life, as it says a lot on their character, influencing also its peer group. In Germany, the same happens at the same age, and possibly even earlier. In the Potterverse, a magical hat determines where you are to be sent, and the decision is based on your character. The system is infinitely better than the system currently employed by the German education system.

The decision, which is allegedly based on the competences of the child, is very much influenced by factors like the milieu the parents are from, by nationality and ethnicity, by economical factors. Of course there are many people who are sorted according to their competences, but there are clear tendencies that show that the people who end up in the school they do end up in because of other factors.

Our politicians should definitely think about the magic-hat system. It's fairer, and it's at least  based on the child's character.
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Current Location: Hamburg
12 June 2007 @ 06:23 pm
DAZ class  
Today was my first DAZ class. I LOVED Ulla's class. When I was there, ten of the children were there, four from Russia, one from the Netherlands, one from Indonesia, two from China, one from Turkey and one from Poland.

The children were all lovely, if a bit too lively at times, and more open-minded and open to teachers than any class I have ever seen. They seem very much at ease, they clearly enjoy being in that class, being together, and they clearly love Ulla a lot. I regretted almost instantly that I only did one lesson with them, as teaching them also more or less worked by itself. Although they were all a bit too lively at the beginning because they'd celebrated the birthday of one of their classmates in the break before and had been the subjects of a teaching experiment before that, the atmosphere in that class is so great that I'd have loved to stay there and talk to them some more rather than go back to the stuffed rooms at the uni.

We read a text on a marriage together. Since it was a Turkish story that pretty much made Selin's day as she from Turkey and was able to explain a lot on the background of Nasreddin Hodja stories to the class very well and relate a few anecdotes. As an intro to the lesson I asked them whether they'd been to a wedding, and thankfully, they all had been. When I asked whether someone wanted to say something about the wedding they'd been to, they all eagerly told me in my language, which is, in many cases, their third language, about their experiences at their relatives weddings in countries I only know from the Atlas and which they used to live in.
These children are so much more experienced than me. 
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Current Mood: cheerful
02 March 2007 @ 05:01 pm
Yesterday was the last day of my internship, and every teacher told me how well-prepared and how well-thought out my lessons and sequences were, and what a good teacher I am going to be.

They did tell me a few things they want me to keep an eye on (projecting more enthusiasm for tasks at hand instead of being as matter-of-factly as I am, giving more feed-back on student answers, explicitly telling students what's right and wrong about their answers instead of hoping for correction from the group because they're not that advanced, and talking more loudly).

The students all wished me good luck, and the feedback on the feedback sheets I had prepared for them was also very good. Their points of criticism were the same as those of the teacher, but on the whole, they seemed to be pretty happy with me as a teacher, and some of them were really sweet and enthusiastic about my lessons. Whee! Some were not, and I guess I know who they are and I can understand it. One girl was sitting at the back of the classroom and kept not paying attention because she was bored, and therefore she tended to miss the instructions - which is not really my fault, but I think I can understand why she'd not be happy about it.

I did get a few "bad marks" from them for my abilities as a speaker ("You talk to fast!" - "You have to repeat tasks and questions more often!") and some organisational stuff ("We really wouldn't have needed to watch those film scenes twice!"), but on the whole, they were happy with me, and the way they took the analysis of the short story in stride (one that we had dealt with in our A-Level courses, back when I had to do communication myself) and addressed every problem I had wanted them to address was really confidence-inspiring. I hope that they'll all get good grades in the test they have to write on communication after the holidays.

It's so sad that it's over, even though I'm also glad I don't have to worry about lesson plans for a while anymore, or how I am going to get into the room with the photocopier without a key on time. I'm really going to miss those guys, and I hope some of them are going to use the e-mail addy I gave them.

So.I am going to be a great teacher, only that I am not, because my university lost papers relevant for my application. Monday they're going to regret it.

And now for the report on my internship...

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13 January 2007 @ 06:21 pm
Life happening  
The lesson on Tuesday was called "very good", but by a teacher who is really used to really bad internees, so I am not sure if it really was all that good or if it was only good in contrast. Hm. I felt I did not really reach the students, but she said otherwise. Hmm. More on Tuesday.

Probably due to lack of sleep I've been ill or on the verge of being ill all the time last week, I hope that trend doesn't continue, I feel out of touch with reality and wrapped in cotton wool enough as it is, and I really, really do not have the time to be ill. Most of the time, I am tired and worn, anyway, and I really do not need a cold on top of that. I have already started becoming snappy. I hope that will change once I have finished some of the work piles ahead of me.

I finished Wicked a few days ago and it became one of my favourite novels ever instantly. As predicted, the end turned me into a depressive wretch for the entire evening, but it was well worth it, it is such a beautiful tragedy.
Somehow I wish I could see the musical, but at the same time, I am not sure what to expect, and the parts of it which I've heard do not strike me as particularly must-see-ish, but maybe it was just the quality of the recording or something. Still, it's probably fun watching it.

I'm also not sure about reading the sequel, because... I don't know. The only thing that made the world interesting was Elphaba, and I can't really imagine Liir being all that interesting all by himself, let alone the world itself. For now, I'm reading Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister although I shouldn't because of the two term-papers, and I like it a lot so far. Not much going on here. My family's still tidying things away into the redecorated rooms, but there's a lot standing about, still.


Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Gregory Maguire. Maguire has such wonderful characters, and he describes them in such a wonderful way.

Current Location: My Room
Current Mood: tired
16 November 2006 @ 10:13 am
dô stuont ich in mînem hemede...  
I am at home, down with the flu, missing the second day of my internship. Grrrrrrrrrr. I hate having the flu! I thought it was a bright idea to ignore it at first, because I wanted to go. My body was against that, though, my tonsils - well, all my lymph nodes are hurting like hell - like my left eardrum, the blasted thing - when it does I am slightly dizzy all the time - all minor, but annoying things.  
My valiant attempt at getting up and leaving anyway were slightly impeded by the fact that I could not get down our own blasted stairs without stumbling several times and having to steady myself on the railing. I really wonder what's the matter there.  

Grrrrrrr. Today would have been a great day, too. It would have not only meant seeing the nice English teacher again, but also met a really capable German teacher, who on top of everything apparently likes trainees. And it'd all been in the same class. And the other class is writing a German test today, so I wouldn't even have had to leave the house at 6.30 am. Grrrrrr!

Well. The good thing is that I finally have time to read some assignments and to plan some papers. I guess this really is too much to get used to. I wonder how the others with full time tables manage...Somewhere between Tuesday and Thursday next week, I am just going to stop moving and drop dead, right where I am, and people are going to walk all over my dead  body on the way to their courses with that slightly robotic look Hamburg students acquire during the second week of semester.
Current Music: HP3 audio book
Current Location: My Room
Current Mood: sick
07 November 2006 @ 03:29 pm
Back to School!  

I'm doing another internship, and tomorrow I'll know more about the exact procedure, when our first day is going to be (might be Thursday in my case) and which subjects we are going to teach. Last week, they've introduced two schools, and tomorrow the final decision on who's going to be in which school is going to be made. There are two grammar schools, and they could not be more different. 

There is the Wichern Schule, which is a protestant private school that's funded by the church and private organisations. It's in a fairly upmarkety area of Hamburg and I daresay that since it's a private school, most students at that school will come from a background that encourages education. The classes in that school are not very big, due to the private funding even the smallest classes can be afforded if there is interest. 
Should be very interesting. Our supervisor is a Biology and English teacher told us a few things about the projects the school's involved in and, frankly, I'm jealous as I would have wanted to participate in some of those as well when I was at school, so I'd like to have a look at those. Also, I'm interested in the difference between state schools and private schools in Germany. The school is also a bit closer to where I live. It takes less than an hour to go there, which is good. The benefits are that the school is trying out a lot of things for which other schools do not have the money, so new projects are easily introduced and tried out.

The other school is the only Gymnasium in Kirchdorf-Wilhelmsburg. It is the exact opposite of the school mentioned above. It is a state school, it is in one of the less well-off regions in Hamburg, the children at the school often have great problems with their German. The students in one year have up to 23 different mother tongues - although that situation was pretty much the same when my brother went to school, and it did not really cause all that much trouble. There are problems with the discipline, but that is not dramatic, either. What is different, clearly, is background of the students, in most cases the parents are apparently not that interested in their children's education.
Could be a challenge, which is always good. Sadly, it is farther away than the other school. The supervisor is nice, but less competent than the other from the look of things. We've only talked to the two of them very briefly, and I instantly loved her.

So I signed up for the first one, and now I'm a thinking about reconsidering that decision. After all, my first internship was in a peaceful suburb five minutes from my home, and the students from the first school will probably be very similar to those at the first school - and how much of a difference can there be between a state school and a private school? The second school is terrible for in-semester work because it is farther away and therefore be really unclever for touring there in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but it would have been bright to choose it in spite of that. It would have been a challenge. It might have been a far better choice because it would have been something entirely new - student-wise - on the other hand, the other school might be more interesting, even though the students might not be as challenging as those at the KiWi grammar school.

Maybe there'll be a possibility to change groups. If there isn't, I'll have to stay in this one.

Current Music: New Born - Muse
Current Location: My Room
18 March 2005 @ 01:05 pm
Many Meetings  
Yay for Fridays. Finally I have holidays. Well... almost, if it wasn't for the term paper in the Advanced German Literature course... Sigh. It never ends.
But I do not regret doing practical training at school at all. Teaching is... absolutely great, satisfying work without the dull changelessness of offices I have always feared.
I think I have found the direction I was looking for. This seems to be worth keeping up, although preparing for lessons takes me ages and I tremble at the thought of teaching when I plan... but when I finally do, I love it.
And they apparently don't mind me doing it, either. I gave them a sheet of paper on which they could give me some feedback, the pros and cons of me becoming a teacher and a ballot paper on which they could vote for me becoming a teacher or not.
They apparently do want me to become a teacher (the class 9/3 voted as follows: "Yes, you should": 13, "No, get another job": 0, "Never mind": 8), and interestingly, the reasons were nearly always the same. They liked the way I taught them and my way of teaching. Yay!
The con reasons were also always the same - "You talk to fast!" - "You read too fast!" - "You should be more strict!"
Alright. Maybe I should be more strict. A lot of people were nice and told me: "You are too nice to us". Tehe. I love children.

Met Sad and her significant other last Tuesday! We had a good time in spite of the lack of cozy little cafes in Hamburg. It was great to see her. Funny to see people you have met online in real life, and at the same time - it is a bit like meeting someone you know already, even though you don't really.
Er. You all know what I want to say.

Crocky and I are going back to Hanover today. Well, she is going back, I am tagging along. My father comes up from Hesse to visit my family and therefore we have to give up our cellar - his cellar, originally. The only hair-free room in our pet-ridden house.

She is sitting next to me now humming along to the In Extremo- song I am listening to and telling me that it is in minor. Now she's watching TV - I think I'll better stop now, I have to stuff a few things into my rucksack and a few books to carry back to my room and Crocky seems bored. Have a nice weekend, everyone!

My old British Man:
Claim Your Old British Man by jgurlpunkrck
Your Name
Your Age
Your Old British Man
You met...through a clever disguise
The relationship ended...when he left you for his ex, but came back
Quiz created with MemeGen!
Current Mood: cheerful
Current Music: Crocky watching TV
27 February 2005 @ 06:03 pm
Just a brief update while my guest is sleeping  
Lots of positive energy to all of you! Especially to Marie and her sister!

My practical training at the grammar school is great so far. Teaching is fun, and although the kiddoes can be really frighteningly good at spotting weaknesses, they are all adorable and fun to work with. I am not sure whether that is the right profession for me, but now I at least have a clearer view on what I would be doing.

Have handed in my term paper and it's... terrible, from what I can say. I simply didn't have enough time, and with the practical training and all the time I spent planning lessons instead of working on the "Dracula" paper, that was only to be expected. Still... I am scared of my Prof's reaction. He is one of the professors I always wanted to impress, and now... It's embarrassing. The paper is embarrassing.

On a much, much happier note: Crocky is here again. It is so great that she can survive in our house in spite of our zoo, because there are nearly no allergens in my father's room in the basement. Since he is staying in Hesse, she can have his room. It is of course a bit problematical because our dog has fallen in love with her and keeps following her around, making her cuddle him, and sneeze, and cuddle him some more, and sneeze... but apart from that, everything is going really well.

That still seems like a miracle and no words express how surprised and thankful I am. I remember one time when she visited me and we were upstairs, in my room and the cat-ridden living room. She was wheezing and barely able to breathe after half an hour. That she can stay for a weekend - and even longer - is absolutely wonderful.

Ah, well. Will go and print the project I prepared for my class now.

Oh, and: bwahahaha! I am going to be a dark evil overlady one day! Minus a limb, but hey - power!

What kind of Jedi are you?
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Current Mood: Happy but exhausted
18 February 2005 @ 02:07 pm
Ruled by the bell  
You're a Slytherclaw!:
By nature you are rational and a realist. Some people may call you cynical and elitist but this doesn't matter to you. You don't depend on other people's opinions to determine how you live your life. You are generally cautious and prefer to weigh the consequences before you act. In conflicts you prefer to remain neutral and aloof. You value intelligence and you are a natural diplomat, you can convince people to do what you want them to do. Your weakness is that you sometimes think more with your head than with your heart and it leads to isolation. With the intelligence of a Ravenclaw and the subtlety of a Slytherin you will be sure to achieve all your goals!
Which Mix of the Hogwarts Houses are You?
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Yay! That's exactly what I've always wanted to be!

School was ok today, but I am very nervous about teaching. I'm going to talk about a song with the class. A song. Me, of all people. I am a musical illiterate. But since we're only going to interpret the lyrics, it will be alright, I suppose. Sigh. They are discussing runaways at the moment, so the song is about a runaway as well, and it's not even "Runaway Train". Consciousness-raising for social issues, yeah.

I never knew how much work teachers put into preparation. And yet, it seems as though people were sometimes overdoing it with their zealous attempts at using the most modern didactic methods and introducing topics in a fun way. Apparently, some of those teachers don't really know what a fun way is for students. Not that I know, but I wouldn't tell the students there was something coming up that was "fun", anyway - you should have seen the savage pleasure with which the students laughed at the poor teacher when they saw that it was not what they'd call "fun".

The school is a very strange little world. Like the kindergarten, it seems to be extremely... structured by rules which apply nowhere else. In a way, school is even more a separate world than the university. Maybe because it is even less concerned with the outside world, but also because it is so small. Sigh. Small and ruled by that bell. It still tends to send shivers down my spine when it rings and I am not in class, making me feel I am late somewhere.

I am scared of Tuesday. But then, others have done it before me and a great teacher is in the class with me, what I have to do is comparatively easy - so what could go wrong?
...apart from me making a complete fool of myself, the children laughing at me, me being so nervous I talk too quickly again, me not speaking loud enough, the kiddoes thinking I am incompetent, the teacher thinking I am incompetent, me making a lot of mistakes....ah, well. Will stop moping now. When Crocky was doing it, she didn't mope around, either. She's my official role model.
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Current Mood: Dead scared
Current Music: Stetit Puella - Orff: Camina Burana
09 February 2005 @ 01:08 pm

I have not been killed!! Wheee!

Called the local grammar school at which I am doing a month of work experience today and apparently I have not made any mistake at all. My "boss" told me he had wanted me to call this week to talk over the next week.

He has given me a provisonal time-table for Monday and told me we'd talk the thing over next week. That is sooo exciting!

I start on Monday, 8:00 with watching a lesson of the littluns (5th grade, all 10 or 11). I know the teacher, Mr.H., already, that is a big plus - I'll be able to identify him in the staff room, and I have also heard that he is a very good teacher. Not surprising that he doesn't object to having an annoying student watching him - he is one of the nicest teachers at that school.
It'd be great if I could somehow convince Mr M., the school's definitely un-nicest teacher, to let me watch. The difference must be amazing, because for some reason the students love Mr. H., the nice teacher, and despise Mr M., who is apparently very. strict. and also apparently very. cruel sometimes.

What scares me is the feeling that I don't really have anything to share. Yes, I know a few or maybe more than a few things about my prospective subjects, and a few things about things children ought to learn, but I don't feel that I have any really important things to tell them.

As a student I have always loved the teachers in whose classes we didn't only learn something about their subjects, but some things which seemed important in general, the teachers who shared their 'experience of life' and their views with us.
Well, some did that in too great an extent, I am not interested in their divorces or their love life, but in some of those lessons learned which appear on no curriculum I will never forget.
I don't think I'll ever be like that, that I'll ever know enough to teach them things worthwhile.

Ah, well, that might also just be a wave of very unhealthy idealism I might want to switch off before actually going into a classroom.

Anyway. I hope everything will be alright.

Love to all! :)

We are lucky the days of Roald Dahl's teachers are over )

Current Mood: hyper
Current Music: Terry Pratchett's "Pyramids", Audio Book
08 February 2005 @ 04:14 pm
Phonecalls and papers  
Congratulations to myself for making a terrible impression on the people at the school where I am going to do my month of work experience.

They have apparently asked me to call them last week, and I only called them today because I could have sworn that I was to call them a week before my month of work experience to talk about my time table. It turned out that it was not "one week before it starts" but "in the first week of February". Yay. As an added bonus, the person whom I wanted to reach was not in, so now I have to call him back on Thursday, and that seems so very little time until I start on Monday.

The secretary sounded faintly annoyed, too.
"I'll leave him a note saying you have called already."

Sigh. I hate messing things up - especially in such a stupid, stupid way.

To feel better, I did some stupid survey-quiz-things.

Blogthings )

Anyway. Back to my "Transgressions". Which I'll have to hand in next week. A 20-page-paper. Yay. I am so dead.

Love and strength to everybody, especially to Rocky and Sad!
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Current Mood: worried
Current Music: Frou Frou - Holding Out for a Hero
03 December 2004 @ 02:30 pm
Me? Teacher?  
You scored as Lust.
















Seven deadly sins
created with

o_O O-ok... But I have to read those smutty romance novels! My professor makes me.

I managed to get a place in a local school for a month of work experience in the holidays. I have absolutely no idea how I'll manage with that on top of my 4 20-page-term papers for one introductory and three main seminars and the preparation for next semester, but at least I'll know after these holidays whether I really want to be a teacher or not. The downside: since that kind of placement is usually organised by the university, I will have to do another one for the credits.

Actually, I'm looking forward to it, although the teacher who showed me round in the school was a bit... Weird. And everybody changed from our school to that one if they didn't manage at my old school. Hm.
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Current Mood: busy
06 October 2004 @ 04:12 pm
The Complaint or Night Thoughts on Bridges, Teaching and Future :P  
I really loathe to find myself thinking about the future in the middle of the night, because everything seems even more dismal when it's dark outside.

The thing is: I am a literature student and I do not want to become a teacher. I fail to teach methods of interpretation even to very intelligent people I like. How will I do that with a class? Then, German is a language so complicated and fussy even natives make mistakes. Teaching is so frustrating. And becoming a teacher would mean I'd become teacher because there isn't anything else I could do.
I had lots of those teachers in school. They were all horrible.

And yet, for literature majors, without friends who's parents run newspapers or publishing houses, there are not that many options without an amazing stroke of luck or a medium miracles.

So it may boil down to being a bad teacher or sleeping under the bridge of my choice.
Interesting fact: Hamburg has more bridges than Venice.
But then, there are so many literature students around in this city they really need those.
Current Mood: anxious
Current Music: My nerves twanging
28 June 2004 @ 06:02 pm
Herr Heesch  
Writing this, I still can't believe it.

One of my English teachers has died. Herr Heesch.

It happened two weeks ago, apparently one or two weeks after his retirement. He was 65.

I cannot believe it. And I don't know what to say. It is so... what can I say?
He was a great teacher. He believed in his job. He loved teaching. He loved the language he taught. He loved the culture of the country he had spent years in and had friends in, the USA, California. He loved his students and although he was stricter than most teachers are these days, they loved him as well - or hated him with a passion, because he was not an easy man. I think he was wonderful.

Herr Heesch was an intelligent, devoted man with a great sense of humour, who, in contrast to many of his colleagues, treated students like other human beings. He had a way of teaching English that taught us not only the basics of the language but a lot of exceedingly valuable techniques which help learning languages in general. That is quite unusual for a teacher at that school.

He is the reason why a lot of people in my class learnt proper English at all, where a number of trainee teachers who taught the class before him had failed disastrously. He is the reason why a lot of people dared to speak in front of classes which equaled a pool of piranhas.
He is the reason why I was allowed to stay at that school. The reason why I am allowed to study at all today.

During a horrible time at grammar school he was one of the two teachers who thought I was intelligent enough to make it, to pass my Abi, the diploma from secondary school qualifying for university admission or matriculation. He and my arts teacher. None of the others. Each of those wanted to see me on a comprehensive school or secondary modern school as soon as possible. But this remarkable man stood up for me and somehow convinced them of letting me stay, although my marks were terrible, I hardly participated in classes, kept forgetting to do my homework and was a horrible student.
My Abi was not bad. Without him, I would have changed schools after seventh grade.

His classes were the only enjoyable ones in those days. He could be strict and make his classes fun at the same time. He made sure that the ones who kept nagging and laughing were quiet, he, who always could keep all classes quiet, however horrible they were. He is the only English teacher we had who taught us not only vocabulary and grammar, but also proper, intelligible pronunciation and a bit about the culture, who tried to make his classes interesting. Yes, that is something special at that school in Norderstedt, a village pretending to be a town in the North of Hamburg.

Herr Heesch was one of those teachers who will go and try to make people think for themselves however much they may fight against it. And he succeeded in many cases. He is the best teacher this horrible school has ever had, and without a doubt many people will miss this truly remarkable man. Without him, a lot of things would have been different. Without him, I can say, my life would have been different, certainly not better - and I am not the only one who can say that. I owe so much to him. I still don't believe it. What can I say? My thoughts are with his family and friends.
Current Mood: sad