12. August 2020

Sandra and Andrew send greetings from a rather overcast and rainy Sydney and deliver their March contribution to DZ from far away:
PUPIL POEMS: Variations on Tom’s Diner,
by Suzanne Vega

Lesedauer ca. 4 Minuten

In December 2019 Sandra and Andrew, together with Silvia, held two double-lessons with the three 4th year classes of the Neue Mittelschule Inzing.
We listened to a rap poem by Suzanne Vega entitled Tom’s Diner, about a woman on her own, watching people coming and going in a Manhattan diner.  She is thinking about her life. Suzanne Vega uses the present ‘-ing-form (for actions both at the moment and actions that continue): the so-called ‘present continuous’ tense.
We worked on the rap poem, analysing it closely. We then invited the pupils to write their own parallel or similar or free text … using the present ‘-ing’ form. We encouraged them to use similar sentence lengths and a similar rhythm. We then helped them…but only when they wanted help!

TOM’s DINER (Suzanne Vega )
I am sitting
In the morning
At the diner
On the corner
I am waiting
At the counter
For the man
To pour the coffee
And he fills it
Only halfway
And before
I even argue
He is looking
Out the window
At somebody
Coming in
“It is always
Nice to see you”
Says the man
Behind the counter
To the woman
Who has come in
She is shaking
Her umbrella
And I look
The other way
As they are kissing
Their hellos
And I’m pretending
Not to see them
And instead
I pour the milk
I open
Up the paper
There’s a story
Of an actor
Who had died
While he was drinking
It was no one
I had heard of
And I’m turning
To the horoscope
And looking
For the funnies
When I’m feeling
Someone watching me
And so
I raise my head
There’s a woman
On the outside
Looking inside
Does she see me?
No, she does not
Really see me
‘Cause she sees
Her own reflection
And I’m trying
Not to notice
That she’s hitching
Up her skirt
And while she’s
Straightening her stockings
Her hair
Has gotten wet
Oh, this rain
It will continue
Through the morning
As I’m listening
To the bells
Of the cathedral
I am thinking
Of your voice
And of the midnight picnic
Once upon a time
Before the rain began I finish up my coffee
And it’s time to catch the train

These are examples of what the pupils produced. They are remarkable!

1. In the city, chilling out/ with a few friends. /  Sitting on a bench, smoking cigarettes./ Hearing a woman screaming,/ Throwing away our cancer sticks./ Seeing a person running,/ Dropping lots of money./ Running after this strange person, / Realizing this is a thief! (Elias)

2. We are playing in the sun,/ Having a lot of fun./ The sea is sparkling blue/  and the sun shining bright./ We are singing at the beach/ and swimming in the sea./ From the dark appears a shark,/  Our dog barking loudly./ Sophia  lost in a dream,/ Jana is giving a scream,/ Anisja thinking/ That Luca is sinking./ Waking up with a shock,/ Realising – surprising! – / Only a dream …. (Jana, Sophia, Anisja, Luca)

3. In the morning they are playing/ With their football on the field./ Our friend Loris is the goalie,/ Defending like a shield./ He’s passing the ball quickly/ to his team-mate in mid-field/. We girls are supporting, shouting,/ Standing on the by-line./ Loris, from his goal, scores a goal!/ European Champions at last! (Patrizia, Laurin, Hannah, Loris)

4. We are sitting in my bedroom/ Having a lot to learn./ Starting to study quickly,/ But not finding our books./ Going downstairs slowly,/ Still not finding them anywhere./ Lounging about, forgetting the time,/ Watching a tv programme./ Time passing by,/ But we’re needing to study …. All night!/ In the morning, so tired,/ We fail our test,/ Ending up with a ‘5’./ Moral? Learn from our story, study for glory. (Leonie, Sina)

5. We are studying for our test,/ At the desk in Jacquie’s bedroom./  We have to work fast/ ‘cos tomorrow’s the big test./ But on tv there’s GNTM/ Our favourite show./ My heart is saying : ‘Let’s go!’/ But my head says ‘N-o-o-o!’/ Suddenly the phone is ringing/ And I must go h-o-o-o-me …. . (Jacqueline, Amélie)

6. I am listening to some music,/ At a party in New York/ On the evening of my birthday/I am sitting all alone/ When suddenly a tall, dark, handsome man/ Appears, inviting me for a drink./ I say politely: ‘No. Sorry’. (Lena, Lia)

7. It’s first day at the new school./ All my friends are excited./  We are sitting in the classroom,/ My eyes are scanning the board./ Our teacher is explaining the words we have to learn./ Five years later?/ A disappearing dream./ I can only cry./ Once so cool, now so sad./ All over. (Lucas, Felix)

8. We are sitting in my room,/ Talking about the summer/ Jonas saying to me he’s in love./ ‘Not my type’, I’m saying./  There’s a knocking at the door./ ‘Come with me’, he’s saying./ I standing up, he walking away./ I’ve had enough of such boys./ They are getting on my nerves,/ Each and every day. (Noi, Simon, Noah)

And …A Variation on the poem  Superman, by John Updike, written by Max!
Finding an iron plate,/ Wanting to build an Ironman suit./ The car I ride is made of steel./ My new iron-mixer isn’t working well./ I’m ironing my clothes, then hanging them up./  With my old steel tools/ I am building something new./ Behind the iron mask,/ Who’s there? Tony Stark!/ Iron, steel, and aluminium/ Metals are my style!

We teachers need to show that we can do what we expect our learners to do! Fair is Fair!

So, this is what Sandra wrote:
I am lying in my bed/ Hearing the raindrops at my window./ I am trying to decide/ What I’m going to do today./ It being a rainy, rainy Saturday,/ I could stay at home and hide./ But I really should go out,/ Run around in the fresh air./ I’m thinking to myself:/ If I do that, I can then come back/ Have a cuppa tea/ Watch a movie/ And feel so much the better / ‘Cos by then I’ve had my exercise/ And still have time to do/ All the other things/ I love to do/ On weekend afternoons.

Andrew wrote a comic ‘limerick’: a poem of 5 lines, rhyming aabba.

We dedicate this poem to Silvia, who has been wonderful!

There was a young teacher called Silvia,
Who rubbed her hands with some Nivea.
She invited Andrew and Sandra,
To hold lessons ‘einnacheinander’,
With rhymes, poems, songs … and trivia!

Photographs by Sandra Milne-Skinner

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Sandrew

Sandrew

Andrew and Sandra were both born in Scotland and both studied at the University of St Andrews, although they didn’t know each other then. Andrew is an English teaching professional with 40 years’ experience at school and University level. He has held seminars all over Europe and is still active in professional development for teachers and in related publishing. Andrew moved to Inzing from Innsbruck in 1998. He has worked in Austria for most of his working life. He is a great reader and has an impressive library. His other interests include classic cars and football. Sandra had a varied career as a manager in public services in the UK, finally specializing in Customer Service. She spent the last part of her working life as a freelance management consultant. She is also qualified to teach English and is a member of the Institute of Customer Service (UK). Her hobbies include gardening, hillwalking and cycling. She and Andrew married in August 2006 and Sandra moved to Inzing in 2011 when they built their house in Brechtenweg. Andrew and Sandra are members of the Inzing Freundeskreis für Integration and help to run a fortnightly Sprachcafé for newcomers. Andrew was a contributor to the Radio Enterbach project in 2009 and Andrew and Sandra now make two programmes for Freirad, Poetry Café and reading Circle (both in English). They are keen to ensure that the Dorfzeitung remains a meaningful and useful publication which offers something to everyone who lives in the village.

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