After school, Ann Lundy (who is now a great friend of mine – shout out to all of you who told me we would be friends) and I had lunch at the AFG school cafeteria before heading to the town hall in Werne. Here, we had the Mayor’s Reception. We were greeted by the Vice Mayor, who said many kind words of welcome to us and wished us a great rest of our stay here. We had pictures taken by local journalists, and the next day, we were in the newspaper!
After the reception, I went home with Beulah, another student teacher here from WKU, and spent some time at her host family’s home. After that, some of us student teachers got to go on a tour of the palace at Nordkirchen, which is located just a few minutes from my host family’s home!
After school on Thursday, all of the student teachers were invited to Ann Lundy’s host family’s home for a book reading. Jutta, Ann Lundy’s host mother, is a well-known children’s book author, and she read part of one of her books to us. Heike also provided all of us with a copy of one of her books. While we were there, we also had cake and coffee (I never say no to cake and coffee!) Jutta also signed each of our books!
Yesterday was one of my favorite days at school. The first class that I was in was a 6th grade English class. The students had finished their presentations, which I enjoyed on Wednesday because they all seemed very comfortable and confident speaking in front of the class. On Friday during this class, they started a new topic: Bath, England. In their English classes (where they learn British English), they not only learn the language but also about the different locations in England and around the world. The lesson started with looking at images in their textbook about the Roman baths in the city of Bath. They practiced speaking about the pictures as a whole class and as partners or small groups. The teacher also showed a short video about the Roman baths, and during the video, I told the teacher that I have actually visited Bath, England while I was studying abroad at Harlaxton a few years ago. After the video, I got to share my pictures and talk to the class about my visit to the Roman baths and to the city of Bath. The students seemed to enjoy hearing about my first-hand experience there, and I hope that it added to the lesson!
Overall, the students at AFG all seem very serious about their studies. In Germany, the schools are set up differently. I do not have a full understanding of the system, but after a certain point, the students go to different schools based on their abilities and dedication to different studies. The students at AFG, and other gymnasium schools, are all very good students. During the lessons, the students are typically very engaged. The sixth graders, and some of the other younger grades at AFG, all have their own iPads to use for school. The teachers incorporate the individual technology, as well as the smart boards located in certain classrooms, to engage students and to enhance their learning.
Additionally, the students here learn not only about their own country and culture, but they also are taught about countries and cultures all over the world. The students here seem to have a very good understanding of the interconnected world and how each country impacts the world. Every student seems to be very open to other cultures and to students from other places. On the first day at the school, one of the students in the fifth grade class we were in said that the AFG is a school without racism. I thought this was an amazing comment, and it really shows that the students at this school have a deeper understanding of the world. I think that it is amazing that students are taught this not only by their teachers but by their culture as a whole.
Yesterday after school, Ann Lundy came with my host family and I to IKEA! I have heard so many great things about IKEA, and my first IKEA experience was all it was cracked up to be! We also had lunch at IKEA! I got the schnitzel and fries, and Ann Lundy got the meatballs and mashed potatoes. We ate half and then switched, which was the best decision so that we got to try both dishes. My host family bought several lamps and small pieces of furniture for their home while we were there. While walking through the maze of wonderful displays of furniture and decor, I wondered why it took me so long to finally visit the wonderful world of IKEA! I really should have taken a picture there to commemorate the trip. I am already planning my first IKEA trip when I return home!
After some time at home, I went with my host family to the next door neighbors’ home for a birthday party. Someone grilled many different kinds of meat, including chicken, pork, and, of course, sausages. I have learned that no German party is complete without sausage! I enjoyed my time at the birthday party, and I got to talk to several of the ladies that live around here! Everyone has been so nice and willing to speak English to me or translate some of what is being discussed.
This morning, I FINALLY GOT TO WEAR MY CHACOS. It has been so cold here, and today it is finally in the 60s! Earlier, I went with Sarah, my host mom, to the grocery stores in town. I also got more chocolate to try and to bring home (YUM). I am definitely going to enjoy the amazing weather today!
Tomorrow, I am going with a few other student teachers to Cologne for the day!
I can’t believe that my time here is almost over. We fly out early Tuesday morning, and we will be back in Nashville right before dinner time! It will be a very long day of traveling, but it will also be good to be home at the end of the day!