15 March, 2010

März Madness

Is it half way through March already? Nearly a third of the way through the year? DAMN!

Since I last wrote, I've got more classes & am teaching 5 days a week. Not all day teaching (i.e. 9-5), but at least one class a day, usually more. Still have some gaps to fit a couple more classes in, but my schedule is quite nice as it is (still have time to do all my hausfrau duties as well....)

So, what have i found out in my first month of working? Here's a little run down....

There are a lot of similarities to what i did in Japan and what do now in Germany:

  • The students all want to learn, they (mostly) need English for their jobs
  • Companies spend a LOT of money on English training
  • Low level students are still a bit giggly & nervous
  • High level students are demanding & ask tough questions (related to English)

This means that work isn't too challenging for me. I don't mean that in a negative way; I have 13 years experience teaching in the corporate field, I know what to do & I know I do it well. And now I will stop blowing my horn.....
But it does mean that when I have got used to things (i.e. travelling around town), I can focus on joining a German course. If work is easy for me to do well, then i can definitely afford some time on studying. Just want to get a couple of months under my belt first though.

On the other hand, there a few things that are really different here in Germany:

  • When I commute, I can sit down on the train. I can buy a coffee, eat breakfast, read the newspaper, prepare my lessons & not get elbowed, pushed or generally mauled. I spend approximately 40 to 60 minutes travelling to some of my classes (others are a 15 minute walk away), and i find it relaxing. I go through fields & hills (lot of tunnels in Stuttgart), I can people out enjoying the countryside. It's SO different from the infuriating sardine-like trains in Tokyo, where all I saw was concrete, more concrete and neon. I never thought I would enjoy commuting, but I had never commuted outside of Japan before...
  • This does mean, however, i have to be really careful with bus/train schedules. If I miss one, I could have to wait for up to an hour for the next one. I'm used to a train every 2 to 5 minutes, and buses every 15 minutes or so. I've been both spoiled & scarred by commuting in Tokyo...
  • In class, when I ask my (higher) level students for their opinions, they actually give them. And they are not afraid to disagree with each other. It's a refreshing change not to have to cajole an opinion out of them. On the other hand, it has really screwed up my time management as an activity that would have taken 10 minutes with a Japanese class, now takes twice as long with my German students...

And those are the main things I have noticed so far. I'm sure there will be more & i will be sure to keep you updated....

*****

And one completely unrelated observation: I love that Euros come from all over the place. Each country got to mint their own coins & could change the design a little (ie German 1€ have an eagley thing & the Spanish ones have King Juan Carlos on them). It means that in my wallet i can have coins that have travelled across countries. Don't know why, but i find that fascinating. It's probably actually verging on geeky, but hey, everybody needs a bit of geek in them...

2 comments:

j-ster said...

Oh most definitely, celebrate the geek!

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.