Thursday, February 12, 2009

My 2.5 hour meeting in German

Since I was just talking about what a special place Baby Bird's kita is, I thought I would continue the discussion by explaining Elternabend.

Since Baby Bird goes to a kind of co-op preschool, we have parent nights every 6 weeks or so. Many things are decided here; important dates, nuts & bots, and even renovations.

I will make a list of things that surprised me about the difference between US and German preschool Parent nights.

Things that are Different about German and US Parent Nights
  1. There was beer.
  2. The parents knock on the table instead of clapping. (Whoops-I felt stupid when I started to clap!)
  3. Did I mention the beer?
  4. Some people who I had previously thought spoke really clear German were clearly changing the way they speak for my benefit. This was evident when I understood almost nothing of what they said.
  5. I can't understand any German when the person next to me is eating nuts or a hair lands on the ground. Clearly, these distractive noises are too much for GLLs. (German Language Learners)
  6. The chocolate passed around did not say Nestle or Hershey.
  7. Their favorite joke of the night was that a kid had asked "how sex could happen when the one parent was visiting Africa while the other parent was still in Berlin." Somehow, I get the feeling that American parents would have been horrified by this joke and not amused.
  8. They were fighting over who got to sit next to me so that they could translate into English. I told them I didn't need it unless I asked. They continued to translate.
  9. They are taking the kids on an overnight trip to a farm outside of Berlin. Those of you with no kids, can you tell me what to do with my time when I don't have to get up early the next day or put someone to bed? I seriously don't even remember what I did with free time! :)
  10. Germans talk faster to each other (and with food in their mouths!) when not talking to silly GLL's.
Things that are the Same about German and US Parent Nights
  1. There is always that ONE annoying parent who dominates the conversation and has issues with every little thing. (hence-the 2.5 hour meeting)
  2. Talking about finances make Germans and Americans uncomfortable.
  3. Parents are parents and people are people.
  4. The apples don't fall far from the trees.

This was definitely an interesting experience for me. Maybe next time, I will actually pay attention to the meeting instead of being fascinated with cultural differences!


Sandy said...

There was beer? Sounds quite odd if you ask me (as well as knocking on the table, but that's perhaps just my personal dislike of it).

I'm glad (or sort of) to read that there's always an annoying parent, obviously no matter where you are. I always thought that this is a German thing... :)

Emily Flechtner said...

hey 50 percent. Hehe, i enjoyed your post because i worked in a German English Kindergarten for 2 years. The cultural differences are certainly many.. although we never had beer at our Elternabende. I wish we had...

The knocking thing is something they do at universities too...when it's a big lecture hall, they even stomp their feet. It terrified me the first time.

we did the farm thing too, outside of Munich. It was wonderful.. my biggest piece of advice is: relax! it's such a wonderful learning experience for the kids.

Yelli said...

@ Sandy - the beer was strange? That is disappointing! :)

@ Emily- I asked the scientist about that too and he said that do that in his lab too. Weird!

Thanks for the tip about relaxing. You are so right. I am sure he will be fine but I know he doesn't talk much and still hardly speaks English much less German!