November has not always been one of my favorite months. However, since I started going to English Week many years ago, this generally rather dark and rainy month has suddenly become something to look forward to. This year we could not only enjoy workshops, lectures, singing and conversations with colleagues from 23 different countries – even the weather was enjoyable and Altenberg presented itself from its best side with lots of sunshine and some red and golden leaves left on the trees.
I had the pleasure of participating in one of the artistic workshops and I could experience once more the challenging and refreshing forces of movement, poetry and artistically working with both. Opening spaces for teachers, which allow them to discover themselves and venture out into unknown territory. In a protected surrounding, accompanied and supported by colleagues, we could try out and discover new ways of writing, speaking and moving.
Apart from the fun this was during the workshop, I also noticed that something has changed within me: yesterday in class 11, when I spoke a poem I have known for a long time, I felt the experience from the workshop resonating within me – and the pupils looked at me, with interest and attentively.
I also gave a lecture and a workshop on media literacy. The participants came with a variety of questions, participated actively in exercises, such as comparing newspapers and turning a short story into a radio play. In group discussions about the use of media in the foreign language classroom, colleagues contributed various ideas and challenging questions. I experienced the work as very fruitful as it sharpened some of my ideas for the elewa-course about media literacy in foreign language teaching and learning that I am working on at the moment.
The most joyful moment, however, was when the package I had been waiting for actually arrived and I finally held my new book in my hands. After some years of writing – always inspired by pupils and colleagues – and some very work-intense last weeks, the “idea” had finally materialized! What a great feeling! I am not quite sure who of the two is the older brother or little sister – but the book on creative foreign language teaching and the elewa online courses definitely belong to one family – both were born out of my joy of teaching and many conversations with colleagues and students. They are nourished by my vision of contributing to a growing learning community of Waldorf foreign language teachers!
Coming back from English Week – deeply inspired and refreshed – I have started Christmas caroling with my class nine:
“People look East the time is near, ‘tis the season of the year” ….
We have regularly sung various English Christmas Carols with all the pupils from class 9 to class 12 and they have always enjoyed this tremendously! Frequently, even students in class 13 have asked whether we could spare some time for singing together. “People look East”, “Good King Wenslas”, “Joy to the World”, “Green grow the Rushes Ho” and “The Twelve Day of Christmas” always belong to the pupils’ most favorite songs.
I wish all of you a quiet, light and peaceful Advent! Greetings, Ulrike