One month down..
It is absolutely crazy to think I have been here for a whole month already. I feel I have achieved quite a lot and am now pretty settled in my new life and routine. Having said that it still seems to be the case, that I am still faced with new experiences every week; this week that involved me taking on more of an active role in the classroom, taking part of the lesson myself and also heading to the University to attend a meeting where I would meet my ‘Buddy’.
This current week at school has been a bit confusing as Teachers have been out on courses, classes on school trips and on Thursday the whole of Germany shuts down to celebrate ‘Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit’ (the Day of German Unity), celebrating the reunification of former East and West Germany into what we now know as Germany today. This has meant that my timetabling has gone a bit up in the air and there haven’t been a great deal of lessons on for me to attend. I have spent quite some time sitting around in the Staff room which hasn’t been so bad though as so many people have had birthdays in the last week that there has been an abundance of cakes and goodies for me to snack on!
On Monday I had played my first ‘active’ role in the classroom where I was asked, without much time to prepare, to talk to a class of Year 6s for half an hour about the English school system. I had previously been warned by the Teacher that this particular class had difficulties concentrating in class and weren’t always prepared to participate which did not do my nerves any favours. However when I finally stood up in front of the class made up of thirty children, everything turned out fine. They seemed very interested, were pretty quiet and were shocked to hear of some differences between our two countries; that Pupils in England have to wear Uniform to school (they didn’t like this idea!), that we start school at 9am rather than 8am and were especially interested in knowing exactly what meals the school canteens provide. Another big difference, in my opinion, are the classrooms. Over here all the classrooms have Blackboards and still write everything with chalk! They were surprised to hear that in England we write on a white board with pens.. it’s the little things, right?!
At the end of the lesson they were all asking whether I would be coming back to teach them the next week – so I think I made a good impression!!
Today I had the day off to go on another trek over to the University. Before I arrived out here I signed up for the Buddy Scheme which aims to pair you up with a ‘Home Buddy’/ a student of the University who can help you out with everyday things, answer questions about the University and help you settle into life in the new country. For the past two years in Southampton I took part in the Buddy Scheme as a ‘host’ so was curious what it would be like to be on the receiving end as the ‘International/ World Buddy’. It took me quite some time to find the actual building where the meeting was taking place but finally I arrived (not too late!) and took a seat. It was a bit awkward walking into the room knowing nobody and not knowing what to expect and was even more awkward when I found out that the person I had been paired up with hadn’t turned up to the meeting! Luckily (?) a few other people were in the same situation and I ended up spontaneously being paired up with a girl so I would have someone to talk to for the remaining two hours. A small lunch was provided (mainly a selection different Brötchen (breadrolls) ) so I figured that the free food made up for my Buddy not turning up. However after talking to the girl a bit more and finding out that we are the same age and share the same birthday (!) we decided that we were happy to stay ‘Buddies’. After the meeting, Sarah took me to the Mensa (Canteen) to get my Mensa Karte (Canteen card) and then took me over to the Library to sort out my Library card and taught me how the system works. I was very thankful having somebody showing me around and having help sorting these things out – it took me over a year and a half to venture into the Library in Southampton because I didn’t know how it all worked and felt stupid as a Second year asking someone for help! Either way, it all worked out fine in the end and I feel a bit more confident knowing there’s someone I can ask for help, should I need it.
That’s it for today folks, I have some lesson planning for tomorrow to get on with.