Emma in Euroland

Tea, Cake and Travel: a year abroad in Germany

Troubled children and unimpressive lesson plans.

The cathedral on my way to breakfast.

The easing in is over and it we have well and truly started. It has been a long and tiring day. After not very much sleep last night, the excitement is wearing off as exhaustion and overwhelming realisation kicks in. Today has largely been spent in intimate groups, trying to get our head around what we will be doing for the next year. We started our sessions this morning with a presentation on how all the admin works. It was riveting as I’m sure you can imagine, but entirely necessary nonetheless and I do feel a bit more clued up about the bureaucracy that this sort of thing entails.

The rest of today was spent planning a class in a small group. Our group of 4 was assigned the Oberstufe age group,16-18 year olds, and we quickly decided on a class about advertisements with the intention of secretly teaching them some new adjectives. We produced a detailed lesson plan and were all really excited about what we were going to be doing, sure that it would be a great success. It may have just have been a misunderstanding, we might have not been listening or we may have not been told it in the first place, but either way our lesson plan quickly went downhill. After maticulously planning an interesting session with group work, presentations and pages torn from magazines, we discovered that we were not able to teach together. The lesson time of 45 minutes was to be divided between the four of us and we were each to have our own section of the class. We were given no chance to revise what we had done though and just told to,


I was up first, like a lamb to the slaughter and was tasked with the introduction.

“You’ll each have around 11 minutes. Go!”

“Well, I would show…”

“No, no, act it out, do it properly. Come on, you have to motivate the class!”

I am completely dumbfounded at this point. What does she mean motivate the class? I have had no teacher training. We haven’t talked through the introduction yet, we’ve been planning the rest of the lesson and now you want me to introduce the lesson for 11 minutes and still have motivated teenagers at the end of it? I stumbled through a few more ideas but let me tell you, Germans don’t beat around the bush. This lovely lady was not kind to us and we quickly felt demoralized, entirely disillusioned about the preparation we had been so excited about a few moments before.

It was like a hurricane had swept through the room. We all looked utterly windswept as we gathered our egos off the floor and began to piece back together our ideas, or lack of them now. I am now still doing an 11 minute introduction tomorrow at 9 am but at least it will be over quickly. Other things have been rearranged so that we can actually fit in what we had wanted to do but when the dinner bell rang, we just left things as they were with no intention of picking things up again at some later point.

My head is not pounding quite so much as it was before but I am still so ready for bed. It has been a daunting day. I have discovered that my students will have been moved from a Regalschule to my Berufschule because they lack motivation and don’t care about school but must still legally continue their education until they are 16. Great. I am sure that it will be a much more eventful year because of it but the pitying looks I keep getting from people aren’t really helping my frazzled nerves right now. My experiences at the Goethe Gymnasium will count for nothing where I’m going.

On a much brighter note though, I found out my holiday dates today and whilst my first official day of Christmas holiday is Christmas Eve, I will be able to travel before then and I have two weeks off in October too. I’m hardly going to do any teaching in my first month it would seem! But I will hopefully get to travel around and tick off some of the things on the Bucket List. I’m feeling impatient, itching to get on and do something real, not this artificial Quatsch.

Right now though, I am going to hit the sack and I’m sure that unlike Sunday night, I’ll have started counting my 40 winks before my head has hit the pillow.


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