Scheiße wird echt

That’s a literal translation of “shit gets real,” not that an actual German would ever say that, probably. But yeah. There’s been some conflict in the class, and today saw a confrontation between the teacher and another student, and, um. (Backstory: parental conflict left me with some fairly deep psychological scars, so generally when I see people in conflict I get very distressed, though I’m getting better at hiding it.) So basically, a minor thing happened and I’m reacting badly to it for reasons which I know are not very good but I can’t find the off-switch.

You’ll recall that we asked the teacher (let’s call her Alma, I like that name) to shorten the class because our heads were full after about four hours and any additional information poured in simply ran over the edge and spilled onto the table (ooo, that was a fun metaphor), and she said she’s contracted for 6 UEs (those are school-hours, which are actually 45 minutes) and she can’t violate her contract, but she can try to make the content of the last hour a little bit lighter. So then we got Schlager music (click at your own risk), which is certainly culturally relevant but also truly horrible, and also Jojo, a telenovela put out by Deutsche Welle for German learners. And this is clearly not what some students feel they signed up for. So, hm, we indicated that there was a problem, Alma came up with a compromise, and there is complaining. Yeah, I’d be annoyed.

The thing is, what we signed up for, in addition to other things, is “praktische Landeskunde,” something like “practical German studies.” The company that organized this course gave us students a flyer that listed things like rental contracts, insurance, setting up phone, water, gas, heat and internet, how banks work, job hunting resources, the tax system, getting a driver’s license, public transit, getting your kids into school – you know, stuff you need to know to live here, that nobody ever tells us because to them it’s all obvious. BUT – and this is pretty significant – they didn’t give that flyer to Alma.

Now see, she’s a linguist – she knows the language inside and out, but what she knows about the practical life-stuff is just what  anyone who lives in Germany eventually figures out. I think she doesn’t feel qualified to teach that, particularly since nobody told her she’d have to. And yeah, we’re disappointed that we’re not getting what looked like the most valuable part of the course, but it wasn’t Alma’s decision. But she’s the one we see every day, so she’s the one getting all the tetchy feedback.

So yeah, today there was another eruption, and I’ve just spent a therapeutic blog post coming around to Alma’s point of view. Tomorrow is the day to try to persuade my fellow students to see it as well.

Urk. I’m not very persuasive.

Song du jour of the day: Van Morrison, Days Like This.

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