I'm a Senior Teacher on this course and I have been blown away by the quality of trainee teachers as they come to the end of their 4 month placement here in Austria.
I was already impressed by this group initially but seeing how much they have improved with their teaching skills in a matter of months, is quite a proud moment for my colleagues and I because we see the results in the quality of the course and our implementation of it.
Yes there was a heavy workload at the beginning of the last course, but this has been adapted for the winter course, so that trainees can become familiar with the basics before getting theory heavy assignments given to them.
Yes the mornings are early and trainees need to be flexible, but we are a small NPO that works with tens of thousands of Austrian school children every year, so obviously the logistics of this can be hugely difficult to manage. But this aspect is forever being improved so that trainees and staff alike are informed many weeks in advance of schedules and special projects etc.
And yes, the active learning approach that we introduce to our students can be tiring when you are doing activities and playing sports and singing songs. But the personal and professional rewards from spending such a huge amount of hours IN THE CLASSROOM are invaluable. No other course I know of can provide trainee teachers with so many practical hours in a classroom - over 300 hours in the 3 month placement and approximately 400 hours in the 4 month placement. With approximately 40 of these hours observed, this leads to a huge amount of practical experience accompanied by detailed feedback from Senior Teachers and peers.
And as for spending all of that time in the company of (mostly) angelic Austrian school kids, that's just plainly good for the head and heart.