Hello all, just popping in for a quick update. Hope all is well stateside; Germany is beautiful but a little damp as always.
I guess I should talk a little about my research and how teaching is going since, you know, that’s the whole point of me living in Germany, eh? As far as my research goes, I’m switchin’ it up a little, just to keep it interesting. Ok, not to keep it interesting, but to keep it simple. To make a long story short, my methodology was lacking some serious thought and the way I was asking questions was unclear and taking waytoolong. My mentor teacher and I did some brainstorming and decided it would be less time consuming and more practical if I made my questions into a reading log for the students to fill out themselves. The students do reading logs (worksheets, little projects, activities, etc.) after every “good fit” book they read (a.k.a., a book that falls in their independent level of reading–not too hard, not too easy. “All you need is a light jacket!”). These reading logs will contribute to my data for assigned reading– although my original plan was to work with students during guided reading, it just got too complicated and took too much time out of teaching them, so my definition of “assigned reading” has changed. I’ll still be asking questions the old-fashioned way for reading for pleasure, though, and I think I’ll stick to collecting that data only twice a week when they have library and lots of read to self time.
Other than research complications, teaching is great! I’ve been teaching Math full time for a week now, and I really love it. The kids have warmed up to me and I think view me as a real teacher now. I’m also still learning so much from my mentor teacher– even with all my experience in the classroom thus far, I had no idea how much there is to think about. Whew.
Elizabeth and I stayed in town (sort of) this weekend. On Friday we walked into town with Meredith (another student teacher from Colorado that just arrived last week– she’s in the art room, I’m mildly jealous) and had dinner at Alexander’s. We learned a little Greek from our waiter and had a staring contest with his 4-5 year old nephew (?). The walk back was cold, but the food and conversation was good. Meredith’s going to Vienna for Presidents day, and I’m considering joining her. Although President’s day is Carnival, and I want to go to Koln or Rome with the girls in Bamberg! I also really want to go to Vienna, but I think I could do it in a 2-day weekend since it’s so close. We’ll see, we’ll see.
On Saturday we went to Cheb, Czech Republic. It was… interesting? Think Mexican markets, except with Asian shop owners, all wanting you to “come into shop, my friend” to buy “loo bitton had-bag, real, very cheap.” Haha, it was a site, that’s for sure. I passed up what they claimed to be a REAL coach purse for €25, what a steal! I’ll get by. I did end up getting a scarf from one of the nicer shop owners there who laughed hard when I said “very cool” in response to something. Also, no one in Europe has ever heard of St. Louis. I guess I was naive to assume people would immediately recognize Nelly and Chingy’s hometown, but even when I rap the lyrics to “St. Louie,” I get blank stares. What gives?
Anyway, after our shopping adventures, we wandered into the center of Cheb to see the old church and the open square. We got a bite to eat at a small cafe/restaurant that was absolutely delicious.
Elizabeth and I slept like tiny babies in the backseat on the hour long drive back to Germany. This has somehow become our trademark when we travel with other people in the car; usually it’s the midday beer for lunch that puts me out, but I think I fell asleep out of habit on Saturday. Anyway, before our nap, the woman that organized the trip to Cheb invited us to go to the ballet in Munich in a month! If she can get extra tickets, she said we could tag along. It’s not too pricey, especially because we’d be driving and splitting gas with a bunch of people, so I’m very excited!
When back in Vilseck, we had a few hours to relax, and then we went to Paige’s house for dinner. Paige and Katie have people over very often for dinner parties, and Saturday it was Italian themed! Everyone brought a dish, although we were excused from doing so (one benefit of being a student teacher is that everyone knows we’re poor as dirt), and we ate like queens. There were 30+ people there, eating, drinking and being merry; many of them were teachers from Vilseck while others were friends of Katie and Paige. We met a German woman who was stationed at Lindenwood at some point, and who had German friends who studied abroad at Truman! Crazy small world, no? She also told us some interesting things about Germany. She is from Northern Germany and just moved to Bavaria (where we are) a year or two ago. We were chatting about the differences between other parts of Germany and she explained that Bavaria is like Germany’s version of Texas– it wants to do it’s own thing, separate from the rest of the country. She said something like “Bavaria doesn’t want to be a part of the rest of Germany, Bavaria wants to be it’s OWN country.” Her dialect is a little different since she grew up in Northern Germany, and she said lots of the Bavarians will hear her German and consider her a “foreigner” since she’s not from the Bavarian region. So crazy!
After everyone was full, we played some dominoes and chatted with the other teachers at the table. I haven’t been very vocal with you (friends and family) about my plans when I come back because I’ve been waiting on Teach for America to get back to me– I didn’t end up getting the job, which is a bummer, but also leaves me with endless options. One of the places I’ve been considering going is North Carolina, and wouldn’t you know, two of the teachers at the table are from NC! We got to ask them questions about the schools there, what life is like there, and how hard it would be to get a job in NC if we are certified in MO (apparently pretty easy). I’m also considering applying to Lake Bryn Mawr Camp, which Elizabeth works at every summer. So many options, it’s a bit overwhelming that the time is finally coming to apply and choose where I want to go for the next few years…
Alright, I’m off to the cafe to get some work done. I’ll leave you all with this little gem: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_zQWCjiqbMqw/TQO7p6KrnII/AAAAAAAAASM/_DJTfD34Vd4/s1600/1291565041534.gif