The kids on Menzingen hill
22. Juni 2011 § Ein Kommentar
On my first cycling day, it’s up and downhill for a while. To cross over from the ‘Säuliamt’ (the little pigs’ district) to the Obersee (Lake Superior, translated literally), I need to go all the way down to the rockbottom ofg the Sihl valley and then up again in 30 degree heat. As I slog on, I see the signpost to Menzingen and I suddenly remember that Monica R., a colleague and co-worker from years ago, founded and ran a private school there.
The prospect of paying her a visit propels me on, and the 300 metres of altitude become negligible. But what are the chances of her being around?
Well, what does a good school teacher do instead of having lunch? Prepare the afternoon lessons. And there she is, getting the goodies ready for a summer celebration. Her class of gifted first-graders have done well on a ‘science’ test this morning, and the promise will be fulfilled. I on my part get an excellent cup of coffee and a chance to tell my story. Rather: my plans, because the story is just half a day and some drops of sweat old.
But the kids are intrigued, they ask me if I ride day and night, and where I sleep. One observant girl discovers a larva on beneath my bike’s saddle – as if a refugee had crept into the fuselage of a plane.
The children learn English intensively from the first grade onward, and quite a few, sons and daughters of expatriates, need to get into the habit of German. They come back from lunch, led by a trainee, all swinging their bright green water bottles. When I take their photo, they say ‘peace’ instead of ‘cheese’.
Monica is impressed by some of these kids’ ease and eagerness to do well, and their language awareness. She is thrilled to be able to work with Explorers, the materials I helped create, and she also gives introductory courses to teachers in Zug to help them use the set. No doubt, it’s different in regular classes, but I’m impressed by Monica’s can-do spirit and the friendly, hugely bilingual atmosphere on the hill behind Menzingen. Where, by the way, I get an excellent view of the road that I have huffed and puffed upwards. The impromptu visit spurs me on.