Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Adventskaffee Ordeal

In the UK schooling system Christmas is a time for the whole school to get together and show the parents what they can do, in the lower schools there are nativity shows, with older children there tend to be carol services and concerts.

In Germany of course it's different, the classes tend not to co-ordinate together as a school and so there no nativity and no huge concert, instead we get lots of little individual class 'fests' such as the one we had to attend yesterday...

Last year we escaped the ordeal because Simon was in hospital and needed visiting...this year I'd planned not to go - Ben has a golf lesson at that time, perfect excuse I thought, but no, Ben was told in no uncertain terms by his teacher that he had to be there as he had one of the larger parts in the class recitation of the Grinch (which, as the only native English speaker in the class was logical) so we had to go...Ben wasn't amused, he didn't want me to go either and then he found out that Si could also come - his world was complete! (Ben's wearing the seasonal yellow t-shirt)

We all had to take either something to eat or drink (of the coffee/juice/water variety - I'd have shown more interest if Glühwein had been mentioned as at Jasmine's laternefest) I took the time to make mince pies, the Germans have many different cake/biscuit varieties that are specific to Christmas, so I thought they should get something English, I was quite pleased with them - the German parents weren't sure what to make of them, especially when told that they contain 'mince meat'...

The actual event took place in 6b's classroom, all the tables reorganised and decorated and covered in food for the parents to sit and chat at while the show got underway (some of the parents don't even stop exchanging gossip when the children are performing) and then it started, we were treated to a small choir of female students (boys at that age don't want to sing) who sang a couple of German Christmas songs, then there was chaos as a couple of girls argued amongst themselves as to who as performing the next piece, the eventual girl with the flute threw a strop when she couldn't play it to her satisfaction, then another piece with two girls and two guitars and another strop, a boy and a piano gave us the highlight - he was amazing (and according to Ben that's not even the best that he can play) and then the Grinch.
The whole class stood in a row, each stepping forward to recite from memory their sentence, some spoken so quickly I couldn't understand what they were saying and nearly all with an American accent - apart from my dear Ben of course - I'd made him practice saying it slowly and clearly, if he can't shine during an English recitation when can he? And then it was over...

I had a little chat with Ben's teacher before we escaped, she thinks the children pick up the American accent from movies (which is odd as ALL movies are dubbed here) so I offered her our extensive collection of British DVD's - Blackadder, Monty Python, Outnumbered, Fawlty Towers, Little Britain... We also hatched a plan that if she wants me to go into the class during an English lesson I'd be happy to oblige - but sssshhhhh, OK? Ben mustn't find out, he'll be mortified!!

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