So where's the snow?

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


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God, German and Grammar

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My English course has definitely been a far better experience this time, although there was a low point and I thought it was all going to go pear shaped again, but it was a wake up call, and I learnt  from God and prayed and asked his guidance  and I’m just so enjoying my group. We were all laughing so much this morning, we didn’t get much done.

I see mistakes I’ve made and I’ve got many new ideas. Grammar is always a sticking point and I’m trying a new idea. Say Grammar and they freak out. The problem with  German is that it just doesn’t have the same tenses as English, in fact several don’t exist at all. So you have to stop students trying to compare. So this week when doing the future tense, I didn’t tell them.  I just asked them continually what were they going to do. And they were all answering totally unaware what I was up to. Then I played Que Sera by Doris Day and blow me down they were all singing- more of a success than when I played Perfect day by Lou Reed to start off adjectives!  So oldies are the key.  We then watched a video on the tense, there’s an English company on UTube that are brilliant, I hereby plug Holmwood.eu.  The lady who likes to learn by listening could then sit at the back and hear, not be stuck in front of me and her noisy neighbours. Then we wrote practise sentences, and we did sheets together. Result – an apparently happy class!

So what oldies should I use for Present and Past tense – any ideas???????


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Teaching

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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……….