Last week we had our third Eltern Abend (literally: “Parents Evening”, think: “Back to School Night”) at the boys’ school. It’s a chance to meet the teachers, learn about the program, write down the important dates, find out each teacher’s preferences and way of doing things, and ask our own questions. It’s great to get the opportunity to do all of these things … but the catch is that it’s done ENTIRELY in German. At the end there’s always some time for individual questions, which can be asked and answered in English, but up until that point, it’s roughly 2 hours of important information, all in Deutsch. It’s intense.
To add to the intensity, this time I had to split my time between two classes. We had planned to have a sitter come be with the kids so that Dan and I could both go and each sit in a class, but Liam was still quite sick, so Dan stayed with the boys and I went on my own.
I opted to go to Liam’s class first, since I already know B’s teachers and how his class generally works. And I’m proud to say that the whole thing went pretty well. In Liam’s class, there were at least three other sets of parents who don’t really speak German (and I think there are seven kids in Liam’s class — including him — for whom German is not their first language). I think I understood better than the non-German speakers and I was even able to translate a bit for some of the others. I understood every single word that the principal said (might be the first time I ever managed that) and I got at least the main ideas from the teachers.
I did the first hour in Liam’s class and then switched to B’s, and then went back to see Liam’s teacher for follow-up questions. She was impressed at how much I got from the presentation, and she very patiently explained the parts I had missed.
Overall, it was really a great success. I was able to participate in the parent exercises for both classes, and I feel great about the classes, the teachers and the school. I’m even starting to know some of the other parents. It was a nice feeling to come in and get greeted and waved to — that didn’t happen for the first few years (and Austrians aren’t really casually friendly to people they don’t know, so it felt a little lonely the first few times). This was a nice change, and it felt like a success all around. I feel prepared (or at least as much as possible) for the year, and I’m glad I was able to be there, and to understand most of it, for the boys.
(And then, when I got home, while Dan put the boys in the bath, I baked a cake for Liam’s birthday, which was the next day. I pretty much felt like Super Mom after that!)