Sunday, August 7, 2011

Here's my new city...Dumbledore...wait, I mean, Düsseldorf...

I've been here just over a week. I am having so much fun that I am scared to jinx it by saying so...but I'll risk it...I am having so much fun! People at school speak my teacher language! I am encouraged to plan things that are creative and new and my ideas already feel valued. Again, don't want to jinx anything but I just really am having a great time at school and out and about on the town with my new school friends and with my new out-of-school friends, The Brydens. 
These are my new friends, The Brydens. They rock! They just moved to Düsseldorf
too and we have a mutual friend, Rachel, with whom I spent many a ridiculous night at the Rio or the Pickle Barrel while at undergrad at CSU! Yippee for new friends!
This week we had orientation at school but a lot of it involved scheduled visits to immigration offices and to the bank so there wasn't a lot of scheduled time every day while at school. So, I've had plenty of time to figure out where things are- except the copy room, which I plan to find tomorrow, and to get acquainted with the various aspects of life at ISD. 

I was relieved to find out that I have my own classroom and as soon as I had found that out, I began to prepare myself for the beginning of the year. 

Anyone who has been in my classroom will know that these
exact posters are essential for me to start the year!
My dad had the idea for me to translate Be Brave, Work Hard, Have Fun into
German to put next to these ones in English and I am totally going to!
It made me feel productive to make posters like this (and, like coloring, poster making is bizarrely therapeutic) and also I am just so happy that my school values giving me the time to spend building my classroom climate and culture. I will start each year group (I have 6, 7, and 8) exactly the same in terms of setting things up and will worry about differentiating it next year when I already know the kids at the beginning of the year.

I feel like at this school nobody is going to walk through my room with a clipboard and a checklist telling me what a crap teacher I am every third day. Nobody is going to sit down with me and be like, "you need the basics of how to plan a lesson" like they did in my English school. Honestly, I feel a bit like I can just shut my door and do what I have learned through tons of professional development, what is good for kids! Any PEBC related people will be glad to know that my suitcases were packed (really heavy, so thanks!) with books so that I can share good resources with people at my school in terms of literacy! I have found that the elementary teachers here are my peeps in terms of our common values and common professional development. A lot of them have worked with Ron Ritchhart and Project Zero and  used the work of Ellin makes me excited that I have people to talk to about that kind of stuff! The high school people are more like "high school people" and very subject-area oriented and think I am kind of a silly (but not in a bad way) middle school person...but I DON'T CARE! That is who I am and I am proud that I am good with working with that age of kids, because not everyone is! 

I also got my schedule this week. I will have an 8th grade homeroom and then will teach two sections of 6th, two of 7th, and one of 8th grade. The schedule is relatively complicated and we have a 9-day schedule as if there were nine days in a week. So, we go by schedule day and NOT what day of the week it is. For example, just because it is Friday does not mean that it is Day 5. Day 5 would just be whatever day of the actual week it happens to fall on. So, once we do 9 days, we start over to Day 1. I have two or three 50-minute blocks off everyday which is AWESOME so I will be able to actually get lots of work done at school as long as I can keep my socializing under control...which is truly something I have to think about! I was so lucky at CBMS since I was on a team with the people with whom I socialized the most so we had to see each other daily anyway. But, I suppose seeing what is going on in the rest of building will help me with my secret goal of becoming an instructional coach. And, the Asst. Principal told me that once I get settled in here to bring it up because he would like to discuss some options. SWEET!!!

On a social note....
Here are some pictures from around Düsseldorf from the week!

These outfits are for sale at a huge department store downtown!
I might have to buy one, because, really, how can I not?

Took a river cruise on the Rhein around Düsseldorf (yeah, I know...big surprise, I took another river cruise) and here are some pictures of the city...

My new friend, Rhonda. She is another science teacher in my department
but will teach high school. She's Canadian but taught in Stavanger, Norway for the last three years.
I am trying to not be a snotty American and make fun of Canada like I usually do!! :) Curse you, South Park
for teaching me all those things!

I liked how this was an old tower and they just build a modern
building right around it!

I think that more than saying "I am obsessed with river cruises" what this
cruise actually taught me is that major cities are often built on waterways since
I have now been on cruises in London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen. Geography lesson, people!

It isn't just the picture- the church steeple is a bit crooked.
The legend says that it will be straight only when a "true virgin" gets married there.

See, still crooked.

MEAT! I cannot tell you how easy it is to do a low carb diet in Germany (if you can
avoid potatoes and bread because there are lots of delicious choices) because there is A LOT of choice when
it comes to meat! This was a meat case at a street market.

Gorgeous and cheap flowers too!

Bulk foods at the street market. Normally, I will shop a giant American-style
supermarket but on Sundays everything is closed but the street market.

First Brat! (Fed the bread to the seagulls...(this message just for Sally....just like we did
when we threw bread out the window driving my janky Plymouth Acclaim across Kansas forever ago!))

WINE ON THE RHEIN with Rhonda! Woo hoo!

German Wall Street. :) The B means two s's and Strasse means street.
But, this would be pronounced "vall-stasse"

There was a wine festival and these were the food options. Delish!
Who doesn't like wine and cheese in the middle of the day on a Sunday! Perfect!
So, I hope you get some idea of what Dumbledore, I mean, Düsseldorf, looks like! Many parts of the city are very modern because the majority of the city was destroyed by Allied bombing in World War II. Once school starts and I have my classroom set up, I will post some pics of that too!

This week we continue with orientation and then kids start on August 16th. I am pretty excited to just get on with it after the last 9 months without a job. Will update again soon!!


Anonymous said...

It is an amazingly modern looking city. Will be interesting to go to a museum when there and see photos of the old city. Yes, Virginia, rivers are quite the essential part of the settlements of the world.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see things going your way at last and that you are having fun too! Live life to it's fullest! J.