Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Good Day for a Good Mug

 Americans, how many mugs do you have in your cupboard? My family has about ten too many all of which regularly irk me as I put away dishes and try to cram them on the shelf. I have however missed them all this year. Germany's mug culture is a bit different. They tend to be smaller, and often taller and narrower. The satisfaction of wrapping my hands around an oversized, orb like ceramic mug this year has seldom been achieved.

Today, however, I bought a mug from Edeka. It's somewhere between a tea cup and a small bowl in size, with a very flat bottom. White ceramic with a limey-green inside. I've been staring at the mug for 7 months; literally ever time I go to Edeka. In all honesty, I don't like it that much. I didn't buy it sooner because I thought I'd find a prettier one. But, even in my beloved Müller (my favorite German store for all things practical and necessary), there wasn't one I liked. And at this point, my new mug makes me smile. It makes me laugh at the fact that I kind of hate it, but admired it at a distance for so many months. And now its mine.  :)

Last Friday I survived Elternsprechtag aka Parent-Teacher conferences. Five parents signed up to talk with me in the evening. After the mock conference videos we watched in the Schulseminar with the other Liv (referendar... aka student teachers), I was nervous what I could say if a parent was upset with me. I was worried they would question or criticize my methods of teaching. I didn't think my German would hold up. I planned on practicing all week and roping friends into doing role-play conferences with me. Instead, I worried all week, procrastinated practicing and ultimately, just sort of winged it, and it went totally fine. The best part of the experience was hearing parents say "contact me anytime with any problems." I felt like it opened a door that I had been afraid to knock on. I've heard other colleagues say, "well, in that case you can contact the parents" in reference to certain behavior. Up until last Friday, I felt such a huge distance between myself and the parents. Maybe because I wrote them a rather ... intense..? .. letter this October expressing my opinion with the class and never heard back from them. I almost felt like they were my enemies- just silently judging me, not saying anything and secretly supporting the misbehavior of their children.
GOOD thing I stopped playing mind games and got in touch with the reality that parents can actually be partners in "crime" in the whole education of the child game.

Speaking of parents, there is a parent-teacher group meeting tomorrow. Mostly after the French trip in a few weeks, but also about classroom dynamics. I don't really know what to say, but I think its important that I'm there.

Time management is still an issue. I realized this week that I am often afraid of running out of things to do, that I drag out assignments that could actually take 5 minutes into 20.
Teaching the 9th graders is consistently rewarding, because they appreciate my style of teaching and the fact that the entire lesson is in English (they have to pay ten cents for any German spoken). However, its difficult to get even 7 minds to focus on one task. I constantly worry that I am not pushing them enough and class is too easy. Since I am always feeling like I could be doing more, I can't enjoy the relaxed moments in class or plan fun things because they feel "unproductive".
(worrying is a theme in my life at the moment)
I just want them to be the best. I want them to be the stars of their English classes next year.
And yeah, I want them to credit me for it  :p
But mostly, I just want them to be good.

In unrelated news, the chocolate chip cookies have been perfected (win), but my pancakes are lacking pretty much everything that makes pancakes desirable. Anyone have any tips? Recipes ? (molly.g.mcdermott@gmail.com) Thanks!

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