Last Thursday my students performed a show that we’ve been working on for two weeks. It was a big show, and the parents seemed to enjoy it—which is the point. I then got a present off of the school: a big a bottle of wine and a school t-shirt. So far things have gone as is customary in this school. But then I got caught out; my students bought me a present as well. I got a picture of me with the students with a lovely note.
“Dear Rhys, We had a good time with you, the penis [a drawing, not the word], the aaaAAAaaa’s Lohhhh’s and the broom. We hope you enjoyed this two weeks with us” and then they signed it and included a picture of the contraption they devised to lock me out of my class room.
I feel I should clarify the message, as it’s personal and without context the message could be taken the wrong way. The “penis” drawing is a reference to when my back was turned I had students drawing crude penis-like shapes on the board, which never failed to entertain me or the students. The “aaaAAAaaa’s Lohhhh’s” is a joke about English expressions and the German expression for “I see” sounds a lot like “asshole”. The broom is about the fact that the students used to play with and pretend to masturbate with the broom. One could say I didn’t have proper control of that class, but they had fun and they learned, even if they say all they learned was the phrase “sit the hell down”.
The course I am doing is as much about being the students friends to give them confidence to speak English as it is about teaching them new English, especially as the level of the class I was teaching. Friday was a short day, and we played mostly games and I got the students to sign my t-shirt (which invariably came back covered in love hearts and penises. I’m so proud of them). And then my pair teacher and I said goodbye to the students and two of them cried. I maintain that they were tears of relief, and in no way showed feeling of loss!
That Friday I packed and left Eisenstadt to head for Vienna. This was a drama-free and remarkably cheap bus journey. I’m not really used to drama-free travelling, so this was a shock. We got to Vienna initially decided that walking to our Hostel was the best option. But we got the bus a little disoriented and the map wasn’t great. I asked at a registered Information Kiosk for directions to the correct road, and the man in the kiosk told me “get on the underground and ask there”. That was useless.
After some nattering my three travel buddies and I agreed on a taxi. We piled into a 5 seater BMW taxi with all of our luggage and discovered just how friendly we were; it was very cosy. Despite the taxi journey taking about 15 minutes and only costing about €4 each, we got a real sense of how expensive Vienna was going to be: the houses and building were intricate, tall and awe-inspiring; our taxi was a BMW.