Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Teacher in Me

Yesterday, that’s right, I finally caught up, sort of, I skipped a lot of stories I could’ve told but I’ll get to those later. Yesterday was my first day teaching. I taught colours and it was alright. Today was my second day of teaching and I taught colours again, to a different class and it was a bit more confusing. But isn’t always.

Today started off at the usual time, though a botched travel back from Berlin last night made me considerably more tired than usual and made my fellow trainee Gary, a tad bit sick to his stomach. Okay, well we’re pretty sure it was something he ate, but having to wait two hours for a train back probably didn’t help. What happened was this: we were supposed to meet up with this guy, Olaf, at the train station in Jüterbog at 5:45, but some form of miscommunication happened, and seeing as we had just bought tickets to Berlin, we went anyways and found some happening stores to buy things involving English (books and cd’s, but I only bought a book, Sherlock Holmes). We wondered around the city until everything started to close and made our way to the Hauptbahnhof (train station) where we found out it was 9:45 and that the next train to head to Jüterbog did so at 11:15. But after a moment of confusion we found out that another train went to Jüterbog at 10:15, which was more excellent. Seeing as we hadn’t had dinner we stopped at a fast food place in the train station nestled under a couple of yellow arches. The line was long, but we had time. We order some burgers, but they only had one, so they handed me a number and said they’d bring it out to me. So I waited, and waited, and finally I got my order, but only part of it was cooked so I ate what I could without fear of disease and, seeing as they only spoke German, I didn’t complain. (I don’t know enough words) After that we found our platform and soon realised the time was 10:20, we missed our train. So the next train came at 11:15, an hour later, and around the time I get to bed these days. I know, you’re wondering who this guy is and what he’s done with your Keith and all that, but it’s still me, I just have to get up at 6AM and there isn’t much here to do after 10PM.

Following my usual routine I woke Gary up and got ready for the day by getting dressed and sitting half asleep in a chair for 30 minutes. Around 6:35 I was surprised by a knock at my door, it was Gary informing me that he felt like trash and couldn’t accompany me to work today. He looked pretty sick too. So I got in the car (a stick shift mind you) and drove to work, managing to only stall once backing up. I made it to school and was then informed that I was to teach the 1. Class the colours, just like yesterday. Only yesterday Gary and I did it as a team, and he had all the supplies. So I drew a picture for the kids to colour and got ready to look dumb. It didn’t go too badly, but it also didn’t go off as planned either. But we played some games and I tried to understand the German being spoken and then after breakfast we went outside, where I promptly broke the rules by jumping off something I wasn’t supposed to. In my defence I was dared. Well sort of. Okay so maybe the kid just asked if I could jump off it, but I didn’t know it wasn’t allowed. And maybe I was just happy I understood what the kid said, it was in German, and was over hasty to prove myself. It wasn’t a big deal though, except the teacher might think I’m crazy, but she’d figure that out soon enough anyway. It’s a strength anyway. So after that the teacher asked me about my family and told me about her’s and I got a few normal points back. Then we went back to class where the teacher used me as encouragement by telling the kids that not only did they have to learn German, but that I did as well. So far that’s been her favourite saying, but in a way it’s kind of nice because she said it in a way that said: We understand it’s hard, and we’re here to help and it’s always nice to hear something like that.

I also got free lunch today, and during it got to chew the German fat with some ladies that work in the church and my German instructor. I didn’t say much at first but then I just started talking, or trying to, explaining that I was a Gym teacher last year and how that was fun. I always feel mentally exhausted and a bit dumb after speaking German because it takes a lot of thought. But today after I finished my spiel, one of the ladies said: ‘Du sprechst gut Deustch’ (You speak German well’.) Then my German instructor concurred and added that in a couple of month’s I’ll probably speak it perfectly. Now rather or not they were just being encouraging is debatable, but if Germans are one thing it’s honest and straightforward, so I have to take their word for it. And that, my friends was the best part of my day.


At 4:31 AM GMT+2, Anonymous Greg Yost said...

Keith, I'm enjoying reading about your most excellent adventure. You seem to be handling it well. I'm having a similar adventure, having just taken the director's job at Madison Middle's afterschool program (Tom Field's old job). I get to speak English, but it's chaotic and very loud. I guess I shouldn't complain, but as the song says, "sometimes I still do".

Kate and Paul are coming down tonight to go to a juggling festival with us tomorrow in Davidson, NC. Speaking of juggling, take a look at . Remember I told you that Germany is a hot spot for juggling now? When your German gets strong enough, go find Thomas Dietz. He's one of the best jugglers in the entire world.

Take care. Terri, Will, and Anna say hey.

At 12:24 AM GMT+2, Blogger ajh said...

You're already at a second grade level! Don't sweat it. I bet you're doing awesome especially since you never really took a class. Just remember to make large circular motions with your hands and repeat things over and over...


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