I have been studying/speaking German for over a decade and have a wide range of experience and an excellent accent. Part of that time included living, studying, and working as a translator in Germany for two years, and carrying out research in German for my Master’s Degree. In addition to living in Germany, I have also lived two years in Budapest, Hungary and one year in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, where I traveled widely and studied both Romanian and Hungarian. When I returned to the States I taught at a German-immersion preschool for two years. I speak German on a daily basis and am continually expanding my vocabulary. I have an extensive vocabulary and a good understanding of grammar. Because I am not a native speaker, I have had to learn it all myself, too, so I am familiar with the difficulties faced by native English speakers when it comes to grammar, pronunciation, and intonation.
My greatest passions in life are learning languages, midwifery, my family, traveling, and communicating with people from all sorts of backgrounds. To teach a language is to open the door to new cultures, experiences, communities, and opportunities. I am so grateful for the years of effort I put into learning German and to those teachers and friends who helped me along the way, because they enabled me to experience other parts of the world in a new light. I love teaching foreign language because I can help others to do the same. Auf geht's!
Oglethorpe University - BA, English/German
Central European University - MA, History
ACT Composite: 30
ACT English: 33
ACT Reading: 34
SAT Math: 640
SAT Verbal: 720
SAT Writing: 70
GRE Quantitative: 150
GRE Verbal: 170
What is your teaching philosophy?
For me, teaching a foreign language is all about communication and getting students talking. Yes, of course grammar is important, and believe me, I truly do love a beautifully structured sentence! But that is not what is going to get you around in a city and get you talking to people on the streets. I encourage students to talk unabashedly, no matter what their level and capabilities. Because once you gain that confidence to speak, nothing will hold you back, and the good grammar will follow!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
One of the greatest struggles in teaching a student a foreign language is getting them interested - perhaps you are in school and have a language requirement, but don't really have a passion for the subject. Discovering what creates a personal spark in the student, e.g. hobbies, interests, etc., and connecting that to the language can provide that needed bit of motivation to get a student talking. So in a first session, I focus quite a bit on what your interests are, who you identify yourself as, where you like to go, what you like to do and talk about. Then we start making sentences and create a give-and-take dialogue. Then I do research and try to find parallels to your interests in the culture you are studying - you love music? Did you know that there is a huge underground music scene in Germany? Let's talk about that. You love the outdoors? Do you know about all of the amazing nature in southern Germany? You are a history buff? Let's talk about German history. We look at pictures, use online articles, etc., to discover your interests and learn German at the same time!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The Internet is a fantastic resource these days. Once a student is getting a grasp on basic grammar and vocabulary, the sky is the limit. There are countless articles to be found online in German that discuss topics of interest to the student - he/she can bring one in and we can read it together. There are great online dictionaries with flashcard programs for self-study on a daily basis. I have several German books and songs that I can copy and bring in for the student to look at/listen to at home. Again, finding things of interest to the student is key in motivating them to become an independent learner.