Matt does lots of math, and we travel on the weekends, but a few people have asked me what I do during the day. Thankfully, my answer has evolved from “gather the courage to go outside and talk to people” and “randomly fall asleep” to “writing for a few places” and “teaching English”. The lovely language center at Bielefeld University has allowed me (read: given me the task) of teaching an English A-1 course with an integrated online component. A-1 is the lowest language level on the Common European Framework of Reference for language learning. In theory, I could have had students that don’t even speak German (perhaps just Turkish or Russian) but if they don’t, they hide it well.
The idea of standing up and teaching in front of a class did not jive well with my plans or my nervous system. I had inquired about opportunities to tutor at the language center, and it slowly evolved into me teaching a course for beginners in a format that the center had not yet tried. Well, money is money, and it’s only about 90 minutes/week of the standing and teaching part.
In the first few weeks, I probably shed about 10 pounds in sweat before and during class time. Admittedly, I’m a sweaty person, and that room was way too warm. However, I’ve noticed a distinct correlation between the number of new situations I’ve faced in Germany, and how sweaty I am. The answer? Many and very.
I’ve been trying to add a little bit of American culture into the class whenever I can. When lesson planning, this usually means that I fall into the sandpit that is Youtube, no matter how well-intentioned and focused my first searches were. Some things fit miraculously well: (Talking about numbers and family members)
Teaching the word “do” has been particularly hard, and I hoped to flesh it out with some good, clean video clips and songs. I finally settled on “Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?” as a song, rather than the Beatles’ “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road?”. However, taking the top slot in the “so close, but so far” category is a clip that I had to regretfully pass on for my opening classes, where we learned about “Where are you from? What language do you speak? and the verb “do” in questions. (language not even remotely safe for work)
Maybe this would better for A2.