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Life as an English Teacher in Austria


I am currently babysitting three children of a hockey family while the father is at a hockey camp, and the mother is at lady gaga. Now that the children have all finally gone to bed, I have some quiet time.  I figured I should probably write my blog since it has been over a month since my last entry!

The month of October was much busier than September. I was hired as a teacher at the end of September, so I missed the training that all the new teachers were required to complete throughout September. My boss decided that the best way for me to learn would be to throw me right into the game. I started by going to other teachers classes and watching their lessons. After a week of doing this I was given my own classes. Since the second week of October I have been teaching children at different Volkschules (elementary schools) and Kindergartens in Vienna.

An interesting fact about schools in Austria is that kids only go to school for half of the day (until noon), even in elementary school! I thought this was bizarre because in North America children go to school until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. In Austria, in the afternoon the children go to something called “Hort”, which is after school care. I had an interesting conversation about this with one of the other teachers from the USA who has been living in Austria for 6 years. She explained to me that since they only go to school in the morning, they jam-pack information into the children’s heads without breaks or recess. By the time noon comes around, their brains are fried. All my lessons are in the afternoon, so I get them after they are tired of learning or really hyper because they are playing outside! But the kids are adorable (4- 10 years old), and I love it so far!

Sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, but I am learning fast and picking up little tricks along the way. It is hard to discipline troublemakers when A- you don’t speak German, B- they don’t really speak English, and C- timeouts are not allowed because we could get sued (apparently because it is like wearing a ‘dunce cap’). After a couple frustrating classes and a few words of advice from my boss, I have learned that I need to be meaner! haha being “mean” is harder than you would think, but the kids will definitely shut up and listen to you if you show them that you can be a little bit strict! hahaha!  Other than a few troublemakers, teaching has been a great experience so far!

Hockey has been going really well so far. The Sabres are in first place in the EWHL, and we won the first round of the European Champions cup in St. Polten. We out-scored our opponents 43-0. We weren’t expecting the scores to be so lop-sided, but we are excited to win and become the first Austrian team to ever make it to the second round of the European Champions cup. We head to Prague in early December to take on the Russian champions, HC Lugano of Switzerland, and Prague. It will be a really good test for our team to play against some of the best teams in Europe! We have to be one of the top 2 teams out of the 4 to advance to the third and final round. I think we have a good chance!

Other news, I just became an aunt last week!. My oldest brother and his wife just had a baby girl “Sydney” last week back in Calgary. It’s hard being so far away from the action! haha I can’t wait to meet her at Christmas when I go home!

That’s all for now, Auf Wiedersehen! 


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