I finally had my first classes of the second semester today. I can’t believe it’s been so long- I spoke to my friend who’s on a year abroad in Alabama and she told me she has her last class of second semester at the end of this week!
No matter how long I’ve been in education, I still get nervous butterflies in my tummy the morning before a new class starts. Today wasn’t an exception, although it was easier because my flat mate was taking the same class as me: American women writers in the 19th century. It’s so strange being in a class where everyone speaks German, none of which I understand, and then the moment the teacher walks in ready to teach in English they switch straight over to fluent English and the German bubble is burst. It’s so admirable, and it’s always these moments when I’m surrounded by German conversation when it hits me the most where I am.
I took a class by the same teacher last semester and I wasn’t too struck with her, so it was really nice to find that this class seems as if it will be a lot more interesting. We read a letter sent to all churches in Massachusetts in 1837 saying how women belong in the home where they can be moral guidance for the men and children, and how leaving this private sphere is “unnatural”. My teacher also read how someone of the time tried to justify why women should stay at home by using the example: imagine if a woman was a judge in a case, and it was the day of making the decision, and she couldn’t make that decision because all of a sudden she went into labour? This is why women shouldn’t have such a job. It’s so crazy to think that people could ever think that, but the evidence is all right there.
I put my name down for doing a presentation in a couple of weeks (it’s mandatory but you can pick the week you present) and within about 10 seconds of class ending I heard an imperious voice shout across the room “Viki? Who is Viki? Is she here?” so I owned up to being the person in question and a girl came bounding across the room. She’s put her name down for the same week so we’re working together, and she already wanted to assign sections of the text to go through, having literally been given the text about 15 minutes previously. I’ve never met anyone so keen! I managed to placate her by saying I would rather have this week to read the entire text and come up with some ideas to discuss together next class, which she was ok with. It’s good to be with someone so eager to get things started because knowing she expects a high performance means I’m sat with the text right now about to get to grips with it, but at the same time it was mildly overwhelming!
My second class of the day was British literature and culture in the 19th century and it also seems like it’ll be pretty interesting. The teacher is a PhD student so she’s younger than my previous teachers, and seems very enthusiastic, so that’s cool. The only thing about the classes in Heidelberg is that they are regularly 30 people plus, whereas in Leicester they’re about 12 people, so that’s a bit different to what I’m used to. The rooms aren’t really built to accommodate so many people so I spent the majority of the class doing a subtle battle with a curtain which kept falling right across my line of vision, as I was wedged into the room underneath a windowsill.
I’m glad to be getting back into classes and getting some semblance of a routine back into my life, although I don’t know if I’ll still be saying that in a couple of weeks when I’m snowed under with work. But for now I’m feeling pretty positive 🙂