An Update: Being an English Language Assistant and life in Düsseldorf
So it’s been a while since I’ve actually posted anything on the main reason I’m actually here. “There’s a reason?!” I hear you cry.. why yes there is, I’m not just here to gallivant around you know, I’m actually an English Language Assistant in a grammar school here. Mondays to Wednesdays I am at work, but before you start sympathizing with me too much, and thinking about how hard life out here must be, don’t worry.. I only work in the mornings, although the 8am starts at school aren’t always pleasant.
This week marks the beginning of a new timetable, which meant I had to do some rejigging of lessons to fit in my 12 sessions. Sadly this means no more lie ins, but with the days getting longer and the evenings getting lighter that isn’t so bad. All the more time to explore after school and hunt down those cake shops!
The majority of my classes are the same as last ‘term’ but I have taken on a new sixth form group, in which we are studying Shakespeare and his sonnets and also I’ve signed myself up to attend a sixth form history lesson in German, you know, just for fun! I still have three Year 5 classes, in which I’ve become a bit more active – in two it’s the normal conversation groups but in the other I’ve actually been teaching the whole class. This was quite nerve wracking at first, standing at the front of the room faced with thirty faces looking straight at me, along with the teacher’s expectant gaze, especially as first time round the request came out of the blue and gave me no time for preparation. But now, both myself and the students have gotten used to the situation and the hour and a half session runs quite well!
I’m still finding it a little difficult to really integrate myself into the staff at school as there are so many of them and as mentioned before, they have their set places in the staff room, but the teachers along with whom I work with have all been really kind and helpful. I’ve found it relatively easy to be accepted by the younger kids but when in classes with the sixth form, feel transported back to school and find it hard to distinguish myself as a teaching assistant rather than as a ‘fellow student’ due to the proximity in ages and also understanding their frustrations etc. It is also incredible at how good these sixth formers are in their foreign languages, I mean studying and analysing Shakespeare is pretty advanced and the youngest students in the class are only 16! I have to admit, that I have learnt a few bits and pieces from these lessons too!
Outside of school, life is good. As I’m sure you have noticed, I’ve been fitting in a good deal of travelling and exploring and have been lucky enough to have some lovely guests from home come to stay with me out here. I’ve also been meeting up with friends in the area and through family connections have been invited to the odd lunch, dinner or celebration (free food, yay!). I have also recently started some tutoring, another nerve wracking experience to start with, but it seems to be going well and yesterday had my first evening class for Portuguese. Düsseldorf still manages to offer so many things to do, from testing the cafes and cake shops with friends, heading out for a browse around the shops or more cultural things like museums and art galleries. So to sum it all up, things in Düsseldorf are good 🙂
I hope you are all enjoying reading about my adventures and I can assure you, there are many more exciting things on the horizon 🙂