Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I read online today that the cast of Sound of Music will be on Oprah this week.

This made me sad for two reasons:
1) I miss watching the Oprah show
2) I miss living where the Sound of Music was filmed
(see photo below for further clarification)

In other news,.....

This morning, I woke up on my own. No alarm going off, no phone ringing - nothing. When I looked at my watch, it said 7:45. My alarm clock goes off every morning at 6:45. I walk out of my door every morning at 7:20 and walk to the supermarket to meet Melanie, who drives me to school every morning. We leave the supermarket parking lot at 7:30, every morning. Therefore, waking up at 7:45 makes it impossible to get to school on time...

As I was rushing to get ready, I wondered why my alarm hadn't gone off. Just as this question crossed my mind, my alarm started to ring. I turned it off and saw on the screen that it had been going off every 5 minutes for the past hour. And I had just been sleeeeeping through it.

I got dressed in a matter of 60 seconds, brushed my teeth while putting my contacts in simultaneously, added the appropriate 4 layers to my outfit, grabbed some breakfast to go, stepped into my shoes and was out the door by 7:51. I called Melanie to a) apologize for missing the ride, b) let her know I was alive in case she was worried and c) request that she tell Anja (the teacher whose class I was supposed to teach) that I wouldn't make it. Melanie didn't answer, which seemed to increase my stress tenfold. I made it to the bus stop by 8:00. I looked at the bus chart and noticed that it wasn't coming until 8:27. Since I live in a rural village, the bus comes once an hour. On the weekends, it comes once every other hour. Do you know how insane this is? In Salzburg and Vienna (or any other actual city), it comes every 5 minutes. I can't get used to this. In Salzburg or Vienna, if you turn the corner and see the bus leaving, you say to yourself, "Oh well, I'll just wait 5 minutes for the next one". If that happens in Uttenreuth, have to make a series of phone calls telling everyone you're meeting that you'll be there an hour late.

I completely missed the first class I was supposed to teach (this has never happened before) and I was so mortified. I looked for Anja immediately so I could apologize and ask when I could make it up to her. She was really gracious and kind and told me she covered the class on her own and that I didn't need to worry at all. Luckily, I only missed the 1 class (with the sporadic bus times, this could have been much worse). My next class was the 7th grade English class. Though they are 13-14 years old, they appear in size to be no older than 10. Really, they are tiny!

I have this class every Tuesday morning and last Tuesday morning, they were horrible. We had gone over a worksheet together, as a class, and I had more or less given them all the answers. There was no reason any of them should have had written anything but the correct answer. After we finished the exercise, I told them I was collecting their parents to hand in to the main teacher (who is normally there, but happened to be sick on this particular day). They were all surprised by my collecting the worksheets because none of them had expected to actually hand it in. I hadn't actually expected to collect the paper, but they were so rambunctious by the end of the class that I wanted to do so mostly as a scare tactic. Little did I know how scared some of them would become... Some of them frantically began scribbling last minute answers while others erased and re-wrote their answers in better penmanship before handing their papers in. One boy, however, would not give me his paper at all and kept begging me to let him have a new one. I told him we didn't have time and I almost had to physically tackle him to get the paper out of his hands. When I looked down at the paper, I saw that he had written the f word as every answer. I wrote his name on the paper and told him I was handing it in to the main teacher. In his defense, swear words in English are only somewhat offensive to German people. For instance, there are funny posters/political cartoons in the teacher's lounge here with all sorts of "bad" American words with no intention other than evoking a laugh. Most students here use American curse words because they've seen them in movies and know they are ''bad'' but don't truly understand their meanings. Still, I was highly annoyed with this boy and I had every intention of getting him into as much trouble as I saw fit.

Five minutes later, the bell rang and the boy left the room without another look in my direction. His 2 best friends, however, approached me at my desk and told me (in German; their English isn't good enough for this kind of conversation quite yet), "What are you going to do with Lukas' paper?" I answered, "I'm giving it to Frau ______ and she will do with it what she wants". They looked absolutely horrified at the notion of this and inched closer to the desk while stuttering nervously, "Please, please, don't do that. She will call Lukas' parents and his dad is very, very mean to him. He will get in a lot of trouble. Do you understand? Bad trouble". I looked at their faces for 5-10 seconds. They seemed 100% scared and 100% sincere. I said, "I will think about it, okay?" and they said, "Okay...." not entirely pleased with my response. I then added, "I will think it over for the next week. Next Tuesday when I come back, I will have decided what to do about his paper. Okay?" Not entirely relieved but willing to accept this answer, they said, "Thank you, thank you. Thank you." I told them to pass my message along to Lukas.

I mentioned that story to Melanie shortly after it happened. She told me that this particular teacher is the strictest teacher at the Gymnasium, who would undoubtedly call Lukas' parents and report to them that he had misbehaved for the young, unsuspecting American girl. I continued to think it over until today, when I walked into the classroom again, all the graded worksheets in hand. I passed out everyone's papers at the beginning of class and Lukas' eyes followed me all across the room as I did so. I made eye contact with him a few times and my heart melted at how cute he is. Seriously, this kid (like I said, imagine a 10 year old) could be a Gap Kids model; appropriately shaggy blonde hair, blue eyes and an adorable little outfit (all the boy students here wear skinny jeans...not skinny skinny jeans but skinny enough to look adorably stylish). He looked so innocent and so nervous as I walked back and forth across the room, in between the tables, passing out the papers and, of course, saving his for last. When only his worksheet remained, I looked at him again and noticed he was still staring nervously at both me and the paper in my hand. I walked to the front of the room, still holding his worksheet, and leaned in to whisper something to the teacher. I waited until the bell had rung and the students had begun packing up their bags to walk over to Lukas' desk. He looked like he was about to cry. I wanted to give him a hug. I sat down next to him and said, "I didn't show this to the teacher and I'm not going to. I'm going to give this back to you now but if you ever do something like this again, I will show it to the teacher and she will call your father." In his precious, sweet little German voice he said, "Danke, danke, danke, danke, danke". So I left the class and rode home with Melanie, feeling that the day had gone pretty well for starting so badly.

Jan said...

I think you like being a teacher!!! Hang in there.

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