I finally made it to Werne on Sunday, after an amazing trip around Berlin. I learned so much about German history and the current German sentiment of its past. The Berlin trip was much more than a tourist-like vacation. We had a real-life German and a WKU German Professor to plan our itinerary and to ensure that we had the real German experience. I was humbled to touch the history still lying heavily on the city of Berlin.
The school that I am teaching at is called Anne-Frank Gymnasium, and it houses grades 5-12. There are many differences in the school day between German and American schools. One such difference was the schedule of breaks and classes. Students at Anne-Frank do not have the same classes each day, but instead only a few days a week. There is also a 20 minute break between each class, and a 60 minute break for lunch. It is very unusual to have such long breaks in American schools. I believe that both the students and teachers like this schedule, as they feel very refreshed for their next class.
So far I have attended only two English classes. In both classes, I had a discussion with the students on American and German misconceptions of the other. My students had many questions for me about American life and schools. Some comments were humorous, as one student asked me if I knew President Obama personally. Other comments were based on pop culture. I discovered that many Germans watch American TV. shows and films. Some of their questions were based on what they have seen from American media. I especially received many questions about cheerleaders, football, and prom. I had one student ask me if children play with guns in the U.S. I think that comment reveals some of the larger associations that other countries make with America. The conversations were very interesting and I can’t wait to talk about this with my students back at Warren Central High School.
Werne is a very small town, but its town centre is the epitome of a historic German town. It’s very pretty and has everything one would need within its quarters. I am also very comfortable with my host family. They feed me delicious food and give me chocolate all the time, so I am very happy and never hungry! I am now on my way to Fussen and Munich for the May Day holiday. This is another part of Germany that I’m sure will be quite different from Berlin and Werne. I can’t wait to experience more Germany! Until next time, Guten Tag!