Teaching Internship

2 Mar

Hallo von Wien!

This past Monday was my very first day of my teaching internship, and let me tell you, it was a blast! I work at a “KMS” school, which is one of the more inner city schools (I don’t know what it stands for, only that the KMS schools are more of an international school). Only 3 percent of the students that attend my school are Austrian. The majority of the students are Turkish, there are a lot of Afghans, Serbians, Indians, and many more nationalities. This makes for a very interesting experience, because for most of these students, German is not their first language, and here I am trying to teach them English! I teach from the ages of 11-16 (not all in the same class).

The kids are so great to work with! I wasn’t planning on doing an internship before I left, and when the woman in charge, Heidi, started talking about the program, I felt it was something I couldn’t miss out on! I met the teacher I was to be working with, Tünde, on the Wednesday before I started working. She is a very smart woman, and such a great teacher! I couldn’t ask for a better person to be following!

My duties in the classroom are to teach the kids about myself, where I’m from, things about the US, while incorporating vocabulary, phrases, etc. into the lessons. In my first two lessons, the kids had prepared a number of questions to ask me, so I answered them and wrote the answers on the board, so that they know how to spell everything and the correct grammar (so I hope I’m right!)They all are SO excited to practice their English, and try so hard! It is really great to see!

There are a number of differences between the KMS school (and other Austrian schools) and American schools that I and some of the other teaching assistants have noticed. The first and foremost is how much less formal the Austrian schools are. Kids don’t have to have hall passes, the teachers don’t have to fill out armfuls of paperwork to go on a field trip, the teachers don’t even have to have lesson plans! It actually seems to work pretty well. The kids work pretty well with the teachers, helping them out and so on, and the class can move at the pace that they need to. The classes (at least at KMS) are based on which level the students are on, so the smarter students can go faster, while the ones that need a little extra time, can have it! I feel like it puts a lot less stress on the teachers as well.

The student and teacher relationship is very different here as well. The teachers are a lot more physically involved (not sexually, of course) in their students lives. If they see a student is having a bad day, they do not hesitate to hug. I feel like this puts the students and teachers on a much more personal basis. The students seem to respect the teacher a lot more than students in the US respect theirs. As soon as the teacher walks into the room, they get quiet. Whenever they start to goof off, the teacher has to only give them, “the look,” and they quiet right up! I don’t know whether this is perhaps due to the more personal relationship I talked about, or whether they’re showing off for the new teaching assistant! I guess we’ll see in a few weeks!

I am looking forward to Monday, my next day of teaching! I get to start making my own plans for class soon, which should be really fun! Wish me luck!!

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