Maria is a teacher.
I learned from her by teaching beside her. Each Tuesday and Thursday morning I would come by her side at a gymnasium (school for Austrians from 10-years-old to 18-years-olds) in the 18th district of Vienna, as an English teacher intern.
This woman is steady. If the classroom is a harbor, all the little boats are tied tightly up at their docks, and the wind is calm. Maria is head ship. She is stern, untroubled, and smooth in her movements throughout the day. It is good to be in her sound wake.
Learning to teach from Maria instilled in me an important lesson: Be firm in leadership, but never miss an opportunity to be kind. She never sat me down to say those words explicitly to me, but she showed me their weight in her interactions with her students and the way she was with me. When the kids (in classes of 10-year-olds, 13-year-olds, and 18-year-olds) would get rowdy or forget to do their homework, she would end the nonsense, but she would include some quip to ensure that laughter would be extracted from the given situation. When the 13-year-olds begged for a zoo field trip, she whipped up a strict lesson plan and project criterion, but we went to the zoo within 2 weeks. When her time with me began to wane, she set a date and time and had me over to her family’s home for a Sunday meal. She taught me to make schnitzel the best way with her daughter in the kitchen, without any fussing. She let me rest awhile in her bright living room. And when the sumptuous meal of meat, potatoes, salad, and a Greek yogurt, cream, and raspberry (from her mother’s garden) medley was over, she and her husband took me along for a 3-hour walk through the woods. We discussed an upcoming lesson plan, and she ordered me some sweet sekt at a heurigen halfway through the jaunt. A set schedule, some wiggle room, and so much enjoyment.
Maria is a teacher.
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<p>Hello, hello! I'm Lauren Franklin, and I'm a junior at the University of San Diego. I'm an English major with a minor in psychology, and I'm trying to squeeze in as many theology and art classes as I possibly can. I would love to be the sort of student who's constantly found in the library studying away, but that's not always the case here: What bring me the most joy are grand stories, fresh produce, the green rolling outdoors, and creating and learning with friends who want to venture out together.</p>