So where's the snow?

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



I’m having such a ball this year! I have one returnee, a lovely girl, who really doesn’t need my teaching! Someone who has worked for me and a neighbour!  There is one lady from Hungary. Two are struggling, two are shy, two are gigglers, two are whisperers, one can talk for the Olympics! One who has managed to be on the course for five days in six weeks! But they all get on well. When we had a chat about the recent elections, I was surprised at how right wing they all are, mostly in light of how the local asylum seekers are getting so much, and they get no help at all!  We have internet, a beamer and individual computers one day a week. Mega!

Oh, I so want to do more teaching and less holiday house cleaning!!!!!

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I did it!


The first week back at work is always exhausting, but at least this time I was prepared for it. I knew about the chaos and the excitement. What I hadn’t reckoned on was Swingle’s stomach. She’s been going out more regularly in the night for a few months, I reckon her last wormer was too strong. But she went into overdrive my first week. I can do most things, but sleep deprivation is my achilles heel, and as I get older I need my sleep more undisturbed  than before. It didn’t help that on the nights she was ok, I woke enough to be semi conscious and not be able to go off again for a couple of hours.

I also had library duties on Monday after my long day until 1p.m, and an extra evening course that I hadn’t reckoned on, on Thursdays. Luckily, a couple of days Swingle was at Bella’s so she was so knackered I didn’t need to walk her. But I still needed to get out in the fresh air and move on the other days, nothing more tiring than being indoors in a classroom!

The evening course has turned into a joy as the daughter of the people I used to work for in Rennweg is on the course, they had bought the Haflingers I worked with in 2008, and we’d lost contact, so that’s great.

My Business English in some ways is a disaster, last year I had 90% of my group at intermediate level and they really could have done with business English. This year, no assessment day, and it was obvious from the start, two were beginners. I blame the Job Centre for not giving them the right information. So two moved to the other course, then  one didn’t turn up and was replaced, then one woman, the day after I had worked with her, not allowing her to hide in the corner, ran away, claiming its all too difficult.

The guy I’m working with is very laid back, and really easy to work with. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks, with a consolidated group, the book we’re using is a bit thin for this course but there’s so many things to work on, I’m really happy!

And Swingle’s stomach?  The vet gave me new food, didn’t work, changed to digestive dry food, didn’t work, so we’ve now put her onto evening feeds, hopefully that will sort the bugger’s body clock out.

But most of all, I’ve realised, despite the lack of sleep, the extra work, the adjustment, I’ve got the energy, I can do it all and do it well, I DID IT!

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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!!!!!!!


After two weeks……………..


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Sitting here feeling tired but happy at the end of the second week back at work. I just so wish I could find another part time teaching job in the new year! I’m teaching the B1 group and its such a change to teach something beyond basic grammar. I also have a book to base my teaching on and its so good to have prepared lessons, not have to constantly rack my brains and use heaps of paper on the photocopier!

Starting at 8, means I have to take Swingle for a walk in near darkness before I go, but the clocks change this weekend, so I’ll soon be in daylight! Swingle thinks its huge fun as she hurtles around the fields having a sneaky bark at the cows. The last frosty morning all I could see was this black shadow weaving and turning around the field as she did a nutty puppy stint!


I must finally getting fitter, as I found out in the first week. Swingle spent the day with her friend Bella so I didn’t have to walk and spent the afternoon sitting around. In the evening I had leg cramps!! So the next day we went for a brisk walk and although still tired I felt so much better for it. Dave’s job has now finished at the Burg, so he’s dog minder general and he’s even taken Swingle for a walks, unasked by me!!!!!

Autumn is here and golden, the weather is colder, there’s snow on the tops. Everyone is talking about a cold early winter, typical I get a dog and there’ll be ice to cope with!  But it may  mean a white Christmas after about five years! This weekend we have the clocks changing and Monday free as its a Bank holiday. The weather looks good, so after meals on wheels  duty, dog walking will be good.  If life were to continue in this mode, maybe I would finally conquer the homesickness!  But anyway, Thanks Lord!

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Back to work


As you read this, I will have actually been back to work for about a month, but to keep my blog regular, I’m cheating and using the timer!  So, this Friday, I’ve had my hair cut, tidied the house, bottled what wine I can, edited blogs, paid bills, checked my preparation over, even changed the sheets on the bed!  Weekend charging the batteries. Ready

I’m back to English teaching with the same firm, but under a new, efficient boss, new building and using a pre-written course. Such a relief in a way to just follow something through and just add on my extras. Each day is sorted, its just how long it all takes and the dynamics of the group that will be interesting, especially as there will be some men on the course. But most of all, I’m working with a fellow Brit!  She’s a far more experienced teacher than me, but not in English, it will be great to have some real companionship and support this time. I’m really looking forward to it.

The AMS decided to run two courses – it really didn’t work with mixed abilities in one big group, but the swines decided to run both courses at the same time, putting me out of a job in the spring.  Never mind. After Christmas, I’m going to look at advertising for Home tutoring.


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Teaching – the last week


I knew that the last week would be hard,  but not as bad as it worked out. We’d been revising and all seemed to  go well.  They knew there would be a test.  Then I sprang on them a visit from some other English people where they would have to talk in English – thanks so much Maria and Karen!!!!!  So when Maria talked to Daniela, she got the I don’t understand you, I don’t speak any English. To which  Maria quite rightly replied, so why are you here?  Major strop out the room. After all Daniela had been sitting for eight weeks and apparently learning, she had taken part in some group work and was able to make simple sentences. She was completely fixed in her opinion and wasn’t going to change it.

So it went downhill. This was my first course, and I’d found the certificates and had prepared them. I was also told that I had to prepare reports, but I didn’t get the forms until Tuesday, and the course would finish on Thursday. So I did what I could, writing in English and German  as best I could.  On Wednesday when they were doing the test, Hilda the other worker from the company came in to help me – so I was getting support if a bit last minute.  I was then told I had to read these reports through with each student. So Hilda scrubbed all I’d written, and re-wrote everything.  She didn’t like what I’d put on the certificates so insisted on sending them to a friend for the German to be checked. What could I do?  I was bamboozled by the extra German I was unfamiliar with and Hilda was in charge.

So we did the chats.  Daniela was first, and I let Hilda do it. Explosion.  She claimed everything was my fault for being such a bad teacher, Andrea was soo perfect (that’s not what Andrea told me), how Daniela was on the wrong course (maybe so) , how she hadn’t learnt anything.  I said I’d tried to help her and include her on elements that she could as a real beginner understand. Of course this was dismissed and off she stropped.   The next candidate, Andrea  (the less able woman she’d been influencing) was almost as unhappy because I said she refused my help on the same grounds, but did admit she could be stubborn. I went home like a piece of chewed rag.  I had a holiday house to clean, a husband being depressed, and  exams to mark. Still I sat and marked slowly and carefully and went early to bed!