So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog

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Back to work!


As you read this, I am back at work teaching Business English in Tamsweg, my annual job!  Its a new area for me, so I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’ve got another American to work with which should be fun and we’re in a new building so hopefully we might even have a beamer to use!!!!! I had my dream group last year, lets hope this lot are just better!!!!!

I may have an evening’s Conversation course in St MIchael, but I’m so hoping there wont be enough people!

After this we’re off to the UK , then we come back to the full blast of the ski season, with flat cleaning and the new role as a key holder for three flats in St Margarethen. Dave thinks I’m nuts but I’m not cleaning and I’m not doing meet and greet. I said all this at the interview and he still wanted me! I have to be there for emergencies and to collect the Gemeinede tax, which the company for some reason don’t collect themselves!   We’ll still have our cleaning flats too.

Then I will have the library on a Monday afternoon, and I’m signed up for my first week’s training in January, where its all paid for by the state!  A holiday at last!

All this I hope will stop the homesickness, but at the back of my mind is the thought that I really musn’t take anything else on, I might just be over doing it, but we got so bored in Winter!!!!!!!

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After I took over from Andrea, I found I had a lot of preparing and catching up to do.  They had done  all the grammar they needed, but I thought maybe they could do a little on the past tense. We then spent a lot of time building vocabularies, doing a little basic Business English  and all the time trying to get them to talk. I know I can be a bit slapdash and realised this a couple of times when I’d missed a mistake on a sheet, or  hadn’t checked whether the words were too unfamiliar, but I slowed down and got more thorough. However, I felt strongly that they should do the work themselves rather than be spoonfed, that the group should support each other,especially with the language difference. I found the first couple of weeks really tiring but gradually got more energy.

Now every job I’ve had here has involved my ‘difficult Austrian’ such as Lois and Erna, and here I found I had one who was worse than all the others rolled together. She had come to do a beginners course, and felt this was too hard for her.  Andrea told me she had moaned and complained that she didn’t understand, it was all too hard for her, until in desperation Andrea had  given her a very basic book to work on by herself.  So when I took over, I got the same grief.  Everytime I tried to explain anything, it was ,’Your German is too poor,  I can’t understand you’.  I offered her extra time alone with me to work things through, after all there were 9 others in the group. This she refused as she’d had enough after 5 hours, God forbid that she gave up her smoking break!   So in desperation, I gave her my laptop and earphones so that she could work independently.   She was so hostile that I admit I took the lazy option and left her alone.  When she needed help she asked her neighbours who were patient and rarely me. One woman was very able and helped her, the other was one of the weaker ones, and seemed to join in with the  negativity.  I really considered splitting them all up, but that’s what you with kids isn’t it?  The trouble was that Daniela would be on her own agenda with jokes and sniggering, she even got in a hump when I asked her to be quiet as the others couldn’t hear, I got, why can’t we laugh together and she stropped off.  When I tried to explain something to the group it interfered.  When I was trying something I thought they had done (they hadn’t) she butted in with the, it’s all too hard, you can’t explain it .  She argued with me until in the end I dismissed the group and went home.  I spent a lot of time soul searching and decided to act the next day as if nothing had happened.  I fully prepared the grammar, and eventually went back to it. I said this is simple, had a sheet prepared explained it in English and German and gave them examples to do, which they all did successfully, except of course you know who. For the next couple of weeks, I thought I was doing ok, we worked hard and there was a lot of laughter.  Then came the last week……….