I used to think I was a morning person. That was until Monday morning, when my alarm bleeped at 6 o’clock and I thought someone had played a practical joke on me. Alas, my sleep-addled mind soon remembered that it was my first day of school and I was expected to teach my first lesson at 7:30 that morning. Never again (perhaps) will I moan at having 9am lectures at university!
This week and next week are my introduction weeks. As I’ve mentioned before, I will be teaching at two business schools: one in Kitzbühel, where I live, and one in Wörgl, which is about 40 minutes away by train. This week I have been working at the school in Kitzbühel, meeting thirteen classes of various ages and abilities. My lessons have involved telling the class all about me and letting them answer any questions they wish. Telling a bunch of teenagers that they can ask me anything they want was taken very literally!
In my introduction, the main points of interest were the fact that I spoke Welsh and that I supported Everton Football Club. I treated (I use the term loosely) the students to a rendition of “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” and the braver ones tried saying it aloud in front of the class. I became a walking Welsh dictionary for a few classes, who delighted in asking “How do you say *insert swear word* in Welsh?” in spite of their teacher’s dirty looks. In other classes I felt like I was on Mastermind, with British football being my specialist subject. “What do you think of Gareth Bale?” was a common question, while a couple of indignant guys asked, “If you are Welsh, why do you not support Swansea?” Another amusing (and worryingly frequent) question was “Do you like Fifty Shades of Grey?”
One thing that has pleasantly surprised me is the students. I’m pretty sure that when I was thirteen, I could barely string a sentence together in French and the prospect of talking to a native speaker who could pick out all of my flaws would have been quite frankly terrifying. But even the students with the lowest level of English (which is still bloody good) are really keen to ask and answer questions. Detentions are non-existent yet the students are without exception very well behaved – a real contrast to British schools.
Outside of school, I’ve been back to Innsbruck and Munich with Katie, the school’s previous English assistant, to embrace our inner tourist. In Munich we visited the amazing Schloss Nymphenburg where King Ludwig (he of Disney-esque castle Neuschwanstein fame) was born, as well as the Munich Residenz, a royal palace right in the city centre. Palaces were also the theme of the day in Innsbruck as we visited the Imperial Palace in Innsbruck. I’ve visited plenty of National Trust properties back home but Germany and Austria take grandeur to a whole new level, as you will see…
This week at school has been amazing and life in Kitzbühel is the best. I’ve even found an English pub to while away the weekends in! I jest… Schnapps, anyone?