Thursday, August 16, 2012

Successful Start

I have now been in Europe for a month, but I just officially completed my first week as a teacher at Drachenshule! And I am excited to report that it was a success, on many levels!

There were so many unknowns going into this week. First of all, this is a Montessori school, so I really did not know what that would entail. Its also in Germany, a place I formerly was not too familiar with. And the students speak German, a language I took only one semester of in college. So, needless to say, I was fairly clueless going into this whole thing. Monday morning rolled around, and I nervously walked into the room as the students were all arriving. It was nerve racking, but the other teachers were outgoing (with what english they knew) and the kids were sweet and interested in getting to know me.
Understandably, Drachenshule is decorated with dragons. I can already feel my affinity for dragons developing.

To give a little more detail, Drachenshule is a "free learning" school so the 32 students, ages 5-14, can pretty much do what they want all day. It sounds crazy, and it kind of is. But I love it. The kids all learn at their own pace, whether thats by asking me to read an english story, cooking enchiladas with the Spanish teacher, or knitting in the art room. In my job description, I am just supposed to interact with the kids in English. Luckily most of them are very sweet kids and want to cuddle and play, so I did a lot of holding kids on my lap, playing board games, and reading Dr. Seuss this week. And I doubt this comes as a surprise to anyone, but I absolutely loved it. Another benefit for me is that most of the students are eager to learn English, so on the first day I had a little dragon pass me a note that said "I want to learn English with you, but I do not know much", so we pulled out the english books and I did a lesson with a few students. That is about as formal as it gets here at the dragon school, with most of the learning taking place on-the-go.
This is kinda the main room, its where we meet for "circle time" in the morning and where a lot of the kids tend to hang out throughout the day. (Notice the dragons hanging over the door!)

I love the cozy reading room, it has really comfy chairs. This is Phillip and ?? (its surprisingly
 hard learning names when you don't have the kids sitting in a classroom!) just reading a comic book together.

These girls circled around to play the German version of "Sorry" with me, which was fun and I made them all count every move in English!

There is a minor downside, however. It is extremely tiring to hold kids all day, while constantly attempting to understand German (and usually failing). Also throw in a few intense games on the outdoor soccer field with the boys (think elementary school recess...) so needless to say, I feel completely exhausted by the end of school each day. I am sure that will get easier with time, though. And I really cannot complain because I have every Friday off. That's right, every weekend is a long weekend for me which is golden for my travels. I am headed to Berlin this weekend, so I will keep you all posted on that!
This is Jonna's "I have no clue what you just said" face! Especially with the little ones, the language barrier is tough but I am sure it will improve with time!

Here I am holding Linn Sophie, she is precious but she loves to be held and use me as her jungle gym...she has no concept of muscle fatigue and I am not even going to try to explain that to a 7 year old girl who only speaks German.

I wish I could post pictures of all my students because they are literally adorable...with cute little German haircuts. However, after snapping a few pics on my phone the first day, I was told that we unfortunately aren't allowed to take pictures in school. I will post the few that I have, just to give you all a feel, but I really cannot express how grateful I am for the successful first week of school and the compassion of my coworkers, students, and my boss Nicole as I adjust to life here in Germany!
I just had to include this picture to give y'all a taste of life over I went on a walk the other day, there were just two horses casually strolling into town. #germanyisweirdandiloveit

1 comment:

  1. So, is montessori all over the world? My cousins go to one in NC but I thought it was just an American thing~