But perhaps this suggests the wrong idea. I do miss Austin, but I'm not homesick. Since I arrived I knew that I'd want to stay for a while, so I've been trying my best to cultivate a sense of home here. It'd be pretty naive to say that Dresden already feels like home, but tja, it feels like something very close to that. With good people surrounding me, I've got a pretty cozy niche in this beautiful city. That feeling of being a confused outsider is rapidly fading away. Huzzah!
I thank the anonymous German bureaucrat who assigned me to the school I work at. Teaching there is a joy. Any stereotypes that you may have about Germans absolutely do not exist at the Freie Werkschule Meissen. Actually, it makes American schools seem irreconcilably uptight. Don't get me wrong, the school is not perfect, but it's kind of a magical place. As a teacher I have lots of freedom in lesson planning and I'm encouraged to be natural, if not goofy with the students. I teach high school classes most of the time and the students are so damn cool. They're like adults. Most of the teachers are young and hip and it's obvious that everyone loves their job. It's a wonderful place to be and I look forward to school each day.
The attitude of my school is drastically different from the schools I know in Austin and Plano. Back home most teachers feel obligated to put up this barrier with the students, believing it's the best (only?) way to gain authority and an air of professionalism. I'm seeing clearly that a teacher isn't any less effective by being authentic in the classroom. Refreshing!
Here are a couple of the students who contribute to a super-cute-fest each Wednesday, otherwise know as 1st grade English class. English is taught to them via play, song, and dance.
A view of the city of Meissen from the school playground