This is what a typical day looks like for the life of an English trainer in Germany.
(or at least for me. I suppose actual results may differ.)
So before I begin, I should say that my day actually starts before I go to bed. I prepare the papers and books that I will need for the next day and place them in my bag. I also prepare what I want to wear so I can quickly grab them without much thought. Although, that last thing isn’t so much a teacher thing, but rather a totally cool “Chris” thing.
At the start of the day, I prepare a small breakfast and some morning coffee. I then grab my things and drive to my first class. On average, it’s about a 25-minute drive. Wuppertal and Remscheid tend to have a good amount of traffic in the morning. I also try to listen to loud music in the morning to help me wake up and get energized.
Then after arriving to my first class in the morning (around 8am), I usually begin by a warm-up activity. This usually involves story-telling, a small game, or a review of the previous material. It’s typically needed for the students to help wake up. Okay, to be honest, I also need it on occasion to help me wake up and get focused.
After my first class (which usually runs for 1.5 – 2.15 hours), I start to prepare for my next class. This means that I have to drive another 20-30 minutes to the next business where I teach my second class. On an average day, I have about 3 to 4 classes. This also involves (quite often) a break of three to four hours in the middle of the day. I will write a post in the future on how to optimize your schedule to help prevent these breaks – although they are mostly inevitable.
What a typical class looks like for me:
Let’s say for example that a typical class is 1.5/2.15 hours. I begin the class with a very short warm-up while I wait for all of the students to arrive. I ask them about their weekend or their work-week up til now. Then I begin with a target conversational topic such as travel, hotels, customer service, daily routines, job responsibilities, etc., After the conversation finishes, we move on to the target language and/or grammar goal where I break things down further. I try to end every class on a positive note where we share something good.
The hardest part of the job:
I both love and hate the breaks between classes. On one hand, I have had days with 10 lessons all back-to-back where I am barely lucky if I can grab a restroom break. On the other hand, I have had days with 6-8 lessons with a nice 3-4 hour break in between where I didn’t know what to do. I try to use this time for office work, grocery shopping, fitness, and on occasion for relaxing. I need to sometimes get creative with managing my time.
What I dislike the most about it:
To be honest, it’s not uncommon to have long days. Long days mean good money, but also fatique. By the time I get home, I’m too tired to really do much of anything. I recommend that you max your schedule with eight lessons and if you have a few days where you teach a lot of classes, make sure you have time the next day to relax. In my four years of doing this, I have only met one trainer who can manage teaching 8-10 lessons every day. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
What I love the most about it:
I love the conversations and experiences that teaching provides. I have met so many interesting people and made many good friends along the way. Today for example, I had a business lunch with four people from Russia, one person from Italy, and another from Turkey (and remember – I teach English in Germany!).