This past week has been an absolute blast teaching 1st-4th graders at Uhland Schule in Werne, Germany. The students knew very basic English; “My name is…” “I am fine” “I am…years old.” The most challenging lessons were with the 1st graders. Even giving simple instructions was a huge task. This week Amber, Ashley, and I shared a classroom together and teachers brought their classes to us. We introduced them to us and even had them say hello to our Big Red doll. They were all extremely eager and wanted to learn from us. The school day in the primary schools here is 8-1:35 and they are in blocks of time. This is very different than in America where teachers schedule their own days and times. The teachers also don’t have their own classroom and rotate throughout the building. The atmosphere is so different in these schools. We taught about colors, numbers, weather, and more about life in America.
This week I also led an after school “English is Fun” session all by myself. I was put in a room with 20 3rd and 4th graders and led them in songs and activities to practice their English. These students were a little easier to communicate with, but again even simple game instructions was a struggle. It was an extremely difficult afternoon, but extremely rewarding. It’s a huge confidence booster facing an unknown and difficult situation and walking away successful. Throughout this entire experience I have learned so much about myself; how I communicate, how I respond to facing difficult problems, and that I can face the world with courage and navigate myself through life. It has been so enlightening and encouraging.
We have also traveled to Oberhausen where we viewed two castles and also the Gasometer. The Gasometer was an art gallery in an old oil storage facility. We rode an elevator to the top and viewed the beautiful city. Then we watched a light show that took up floors 3-10 of the building. It’s hard to describe but was incredible and mesmerizing. The bottom two floors consisted of copies of famous art works. My favorite was Starry Night.
It’s been a great week here in Germany. I’ve felt a little homesick for my friends and family, but I know I will be home very soon. It will be a bittersweet feeling leaving this beautiful country.