Ada Abroad: Living and Working in Germany

An online journal recording two years spent as a Fulbright/Pedagogical Exchange Service Teaching Assistant at secondary schools in Germany. (2003-2004 I was in a village near Bautzen; 2004-2005 I will be in Nordrhein-Westfalen.)

Name:
Location: Münster, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

I'm an American living in Germany, working as a foreign language assistant at a secondary school. Future plans: getting my Ph.D. (probably in Germanic Linguistics), becoming a professor, living an ethical and meaningful life.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Good Morning, Boys and Girls

My name is Ms. Muncy. (Point to name on chalkboard.) I come from Michigan in the United States. I am a kind of English teacher. I will be here at the Mittelschule D. for the next ten months. My job is to help you learn English. Do you have any questions for me?

So, that´s my spiel. I´ve been repeating it several times a day for the past three days. Really I´ll only be working with four or five classes on a regular basis, but I plan to sit in on each English class at least once so all the students know who I am. Also so they know that I´m not once of them. Several have already mistaken me for ´the new girl.´ To (over) compensate for my small stature, I´ve been wearing a lot of ´teacher clothes´(even though most of the real teachers come in jeans), make-up, perfume, etc. The English teachers emphasize that the students should call me by my last name (hard to get used to!) and address me by the
formal ´Sie´.

The kids are great. I especially like the eighth graders. They´re so enthusiastic! Yesterday evening the boss and I walked over and visited them (they were on a kind of school-sponsored camping trip at a local fish pond) and a big group of girls cornered me and asked me:
-Where do you put cows and horses and other big animals during a tornado? (I have no idea. Aunt Judy, can you maybe help me out with this one?)
-Has your house ever blown away? (No.)
-Were you ever in a hurricane? (No.)
-Are American men good looking? (I said that some are-- I omitted the fact that I´m probably not the best person to ask!)

Other stuff that´s new:

-Sorbian lessons with Herr B. start tomorrow! I´m pretty excited. :)

-Yesterday was a Wandertag (class hiking trip). The ninth grade vocational students and I walked to a local reservoir and back-- it took about three and a half hours. Then in the afternoon, my mentor (the main English teacher) took me on a walking tour of Bautzen. In the evening, I took a long walk with my boss. Really I enjoyed all of this, but it left me rather exhausted.

-I think in German before I think in English!

-A surprise: apparently, 10-15 years ago East German parents became very fond of
old-fashioned English and American names, especially for their daughters. There are several Peggys, a Sally, at least eight Melanies, two Lindas, and even a Kevin! These are NOT German names. --There are however, no students called Traudl, Hedwig, Helmut, or Otto. Which is good, because I don´t think I could call on a girl named ´Traudl´without cracking up.

-Some of the older boys have a severe hygiene problem Simply put, they stink. The girls seem pretty clean though.

That´s all for now!

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's funny about the American names. Any American boy's names?

Hey - What's with the jeans? I thought you said people in Europe don't wear jeans.

Mom

1:10 PM  
Blogger Ada said...

Well, adults in WESTERN Germany probably wouldn´t wear jeans to work. Things in the east are a lot more casual. Younger people do wear jeans. Really I think I dress better than a lot of the people here!

8:34 AM  

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