Friday, March 12, 2010


Ladies and Gentlethings, dear readers,
it is done!
At the beginning I thought "How am I ever, like EVER! going to make this?!" and then, whooooosh, here I am, four weeks later, looking back on the last preordained internship in my universitarian life and marvelling on how quickly it went past.
I had put this internship off again and again for years on end because the thought of it just scared me shitless.

Imagine! Four weeks of

being the responsible person and
supposedly the most intelligent one in the room (aye, I know!)
having a ready answer for everything these ankle high freckle-faces can possibly come up with
AAAANNNND: doing all that in frickin' FRENCH!!!

Also I had been terrified of finding out, throught this time at a highschool, that (and I've come to dread these words) "It's not for me". So I had put it off for about ... fuckin' decades, hiding my sorry ass behind my ever present attitude of "it'll not harm you as long as you don't annoy it!" Which of course, couldn't be further from the truth. So I got up and did annoy it; I got my rear in gear and signed up for this internship, feeling sort of fatalistic about it. If I suck at it, I suck, so be it, at least I'll know.

So I spent the last four weeks at a High School in an area where people have driveways and various cars to put on them.
Some of the classes there skip eighth grade, before skipping eleventh grade due to the school reform and end up taking their superbrains to university at the age of, what?, seventeen? And the weird thing is, these are just normal kids (with names like Cordelia and Leandros, but there is also a bunch of plain old Julias, Annas and Christians) who don't do their homework all the time and screw up vocab tests. During my time there, one of the boys had to leave the school because he had tried to scratch a classmate's eyes out!

I spent the mornings at school where the sixth graders say things like "You don't say number and gender, it's better to say numerus and genus!", went on to work in the afternoon where I was forced to explain ninth graders what a verb is.

And I taught several lessons myself. I taught the seventh grade kids how to give and ask for directions in French and the eighth graders will probably never forget the French word for helmet in their lives.

And of course, I was being observed and my work evaluated. My sort of professor from Uni came yesterday sat in the back and watched while I gave a lesson about road safety (hence the helmet thing) . It was the last period of my last day at the school and the moment of highest anxiety.
GOD I was nervous.
What if they ask me something I can't answer?
What if they say something I don't understand?
What if I have trouble finding the right words?

All these things ... (dramatic pause) ... happend!

But you know what? It mattered not one wit!
The wisdom I take from my own lessons and all the lessons I watched during my internship is: even the most senior teachers make mistakes and don't know each and every word and expression - how could they? Why should they? That's what dictionaries are for!
My French may have suffered, yes, it certainly has, but it's all coming back. I'm much more confident in it now than I was even four weeks ago. It's going to be a cerebral landslide once I'm in my probationer time and if I'm really lost: I just won't let it show; how are THEY supposed to notice?

The cherry on the proverbial cake was discussing my lessons with the teachers and with my professor lady yesterday.
They told me that they liked my style of teaching and that the kids liked it too, that they could see I had fun doing this and that (although I could have done certain things differently, planned things more careful in advance and the like) I would be a great teacher one day. And it's true, I really enjoyed it, I had a great time and my occasional attempts to make a fool out of me and the lesson less boring for the kids apparently had them have a good time, too. (They were so cute, trying to help me out all the time and even giving me a round of applause at the end of the class!)

And language wise, the thing I had been so worried about, my prof told me she saw me in the upper segment of all the people who had been in the preparation class.

So today I was able to sit back and relax, allowing myself a day of doing fuck all and enjoying this feeling of being reassured in my choice of profession. Today, I am more certain that this is what I want to do more than I have been in a long time.

Daddy'll be happy to hear, a decade of studies haven't been in vain.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Everyday observations

There's the wonderful south-west German tradition these days to call the less bright of society "too daft to wait for the bus". Up until recently I thought this was just a figure of speech. Latest field research on my part, however, shows that reality is even worse!

Due to my new work place being located in the posh an bling-bling district of Wilmersdorf, I am obliged to take a looooooooooooong busride throughout the whole of bleedin' town, for, needless to say, I live in a completely different and slightly less posh and bling-bling part of town.

Being in overcrowded buses sometimes gives you incredible insights into modern society and I have noticed that whilst most people do an alright job waiting for the bus, for a significant number of them the problem starts upon entering the bus or should I say: stampeding for empty seats, shoving elbows and shopping bags into other people's tender parts because who knows when the next time to take the weight off the feet will arrive and life's no fun without causing the occasional cuts and bruises anyway.

And it goes on: once they've entered the bus, more people than none entirely lack the capacity to ride it and, of course, there is always a pack of them grouping up in the bus that I am on. Logen.

On my first day of work, I was quite nervous, because when it comes to French (which is essential for my job as a French teacher) I am wont to struggle with ... let's call it failure issues. So, to compensate for that, I wanted to be extra early to find my inner peace, learn the dictionary by heart and do a bit of mouth gymnastics, that sort of thing. That's why I had checked the bus schedule in advance and taken one that would give me half an hour upon arrival before class started. Thank God! It didn't take me long to realize that the bus was going horribly slowly! At each and every stop, the driver had to ask the people not to stand in the doorway because that prevents the door from closing which, in turn, prevents the bus from proceeding on its way. Each stop had the bus driver pick up his microphone and remind the people to GET OUT OF THE FRICKING DOOR!!!!!

He stayed admiringly calm doing this, but I could feel that he was just one step from taking the machete out of the glove department and put an end to this misery.

The ordeal took about half an hour, the time it took to go down Oranienstraße. (It's not unusual for that to take half an hour. If you're on foot. With a crutch.)
And then, at one stop, the whole cross eyed and mooing lot got off the bus and waddled towards a big and colourful building on the corner of Oranienstraße and Lindenstraße: Axel Springer publishing house, the place responsibe for the existence of BILD, the German version of, let's say, the SUN.


Guess I'll just leave that without any further comment.