Typical Wednesday in my life…

I wake up at 7.16am, brace myself for the reality that I do indeed have to leave in 20 minutes for work, brush teeth and deodorize, put on clothes using hall light so as to not wake up girlfriend. Take the tram at 7.34am and after 4 stops get out and walk 8 minutes to one class. It is from 8-9.30am but I often end it a bit early because I have another class 2 minutes away that starts at 9.30. The first class is with beginners and it is a little like hearing fingernails on the chalkboard at 35 dollars/hour. You do it with a smile, but not your best smile. The next class is with lawyers who know their stuff. They still make the occasional mistake, like “what means punitive damages” and using the word “walley” instead of “valley” but it is generally an enjoyable time. Both places have free coffee and copy machines. I think walk up the same street 6 minutes to the middle of town to my 3rd job of the morning, an anomaly. I teach American and British history at a pseudo-university. The people there are pretty interesting, most have traveled some but they all think they´re pretty cool but, as someone generally 7 or more years older than them, I have a better idea of what cool is. At least I think I do. Anyway, I peel away from there at 12.30 and with any luck, I might be on the 12.32 tram home where I have now have 4+ hours to relax before my night classes but I am getting ahead of myself.

Usually, I eat lunch with the girls when I get home. They have cooked some variety of pasta with sauce and I inevitably put lemon juice and hot sauce in it because that is the kind of stuff I like. The variable today is that I also have to do the dishes and clean the living room as part of my chore and yes, I am stoked about it. When I feeling on top of things and the weather is better than it is now, I will go running or work out and do some running in my afternoon break. Often I am already pooped from the last day and a half of work and I watch tv or a movie or some Simpsons and read for awhile. I may also do some writing on my “Selling to the Norwegians” travelogue. Anyway, sometime after 4pm the guilt machine starts getting me up and about and I get into the shower to look presentable for two business English classes from 6-9pm in a town that is 10-20 minutes away by train(depending on the train of course). I leave at 5pm for my 5.24train and I arrive at 5.44 where I have a 5-minute walk to the building. It is a quiet town, one that I do not enjoy so much time in but again, this money goes towards things like Black Crowes tickets, plane tickets to Paris and the like so I do not complain.

Business English is not my favorite thing in the world to teach but it all depends on the students. These students are quite a mix, ranging from rather boring businessmen to women who are from other countries (almost always Russia) and also speak German as a second language like me to well, other kinds of people. I use a lot of the same jokes in both classes, but only if it seemed to work in the first. Afterwards, I have a 9.14train that gets me to Freiburg at 9.34. I have a tram 5 minutes later that gets me home by 9.55. I am exhausted at this point and happy because my week is 3/4 over at this point. I usually watch some tv with the girls and read in bed before crashing out.

I tried to explain all of this without emotion. Often quite remarkable things happen, like hearing about cases about millions of euro which are not yet decided, or discussions about Iraq or having students accidentally say “I get off when I can”. This is my job and I earn far more than I deserve but I am worth every penny. This typical day nets me 181 euro (210 dollars). When I tell you my rent and utilities cost 350euro, you can see why I put up with it without complaint but I wanted you guys to know what it is like to teach English in Germany.

I have to make some photocopies and discuss with my boss how we are going to teach Reconstruction. Ya know, that time after the Civil War when the South was destroyed and still racist, they had to install some northern folk to run the governments down there until the states agreed to pass the 13th and 14th Amendments. Wait a sec, you are not in my class!


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