Saturday, 1 November 2008

Week 8 - back to school

The children are very happy to go off to school this week, and I’m already feeling as if we’ve made huge progress in the short time they’ve been at school here. They are more confident, more independent, and, importantly, both happy and looking forward to seeing their friends.

We have a little problem at lunchtime when J is late coming back from extra Deutsch so C gets fed up waiting and comes home on his own, but I decide that they are OK to come home independently now rather than wait for each other. This is more for practical reasons than anything else: sometimes they have classes in the school next door so it takes one of them longer than usual to get to the school gate in the first place, there are times when J has to do his routine class chores after school, and also there are times when they have to finish work from that day before they are allowed to go. So it’s a waste of J’s time and energy to be running up to the school entrance from his classroom to tell C to make his own way home when C could be getting on with it anyway and walking with a friend.

Late in the week J receives a very cute little letter from his guitar teacher, with confirmation of his lesson details and the teacher’s contact details. By having his handy number – along with the email, address and phone number of all of the school teachers our children have, we are able to make direct contact with them in case of emergency and sickness. We also have a phone tree, with the contact details of everyone in the childrens’ school classes: in case of an emergency the teacher rings one parent, who rings the next, who rings the next and so on. Both teachers have sensibly placed us at the end, where we then ring the teacher and repeat the message back – a bit like a giant adult game of Chinese whispers, only conducted in Swiss German - which might as well be Chinese as far as I’m concerned. You can get into all sorts of neurotic debates about data protection with having this level of information about where the staff live and how they can be contacted, but quite honestly I think it’s just sensible.

Saturday sees J’s first guitar lesson at the secondary school. His teacher is a fabulous old hippy with a plaited beard (yes you did read that correctly). J comes home enthused about learning the instrument and his teacher. Whilst he is having his lesson I manage a simple conversation with the Musikschuleleitung, and he compliments me on my improved Deutsch. This is terribly kind of him and I’m very flattered. I don't think that my Deutsch is all that much better than it was, but it probably is much better than it was when I last saw him, which was just after I’d crashed the car and was barely capable of stringing a sentence together in English, never mind German.

On Sunday there is the concert given by the participants of the Musikschule camp, which had been held the first week of the October half term. I can’t comment first hand on this as I was taking part in a concert myself in Zurich, but OH took the boys and they all thoroughly enjoyed it. School children across the gemeinde of all ages who had taken part in the camp gave the performance, and the boys came home very excited about the possibility of being able to go on the camp next year.

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