Peder with a D

[plays well with others]

My New Job: The Germanic-American Institute

Posted by Peder on 30 October 2008

Click to Watch the Music Video

Hang on, I gotta crank some 99 Luftballons before I start writing.

Hast du etwas Zeit für mich?  Dann singe ich ein Leid für dich … von meiner neuen Arbeit bei der GAI.

In this great Fall of Change that is my Autumnal 2008, there is one constant I’ve been banking on the last few weeks:  The Germanic-American Institute.  Located on scenic Summit Ave, near downtown St. Paul this organization was originally developed as a cultural/heritage society for local German immigrants around 100 years ago.  Nowadays it still stands at the center of Germanic culture in the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota.  They organize language classes, culture exchanges, dance lessons, wine/beer tastings …

I go there to teach – Ich bin Deutschlehrer.  I was first brought in at the end of September as a substitute teacher for a woman who went on maternity leave.  Seems now, by way of the mid-term course evaluations, the students have selected me to continue with them until the class is over in January.  I’m also starting to get some tutor students.  It appears all is good in the ‘hood.

Teaching isn’t completely new to me, in fact I’ve had a track record of success before.  I taught EFL in Shanghai for two years, first with these guys then with these guys (sorry, regular site is in Chinese & Flash).  I taught ESL and German for Berlitz as well for a stint.

I like teaching this group in particular.  First, they’re adults — infinitely easier to teach than children.  No one’s on a sugar buzz, everyone pays attention and I don’t have to use a “timeout” chair or the Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes song to keep the peace.  Second, they really like being there.  These courses are expensive and everyone is motivated to gain as much as they can from their time there.  Third, I learn so much from them — from travel stories, to cultural experiences, to what interesting things happened at work that week.  (I live vicariously through others’ work stories these days.  le sigh.)

Tonight we move further on our chapter regarding foods and being in restaurants.  We’re supposed to spend three weeks on each chapter, and this is our third week, meaning I have to make sure everything is covered.  Not a problem, normally, but two weeks ago we got behind with some games and lots of questions, and last week we were delayed by those mid-term evaluations and a surprise visit from the regular teacher with her new baby.  Cute kid and a welcome visit, but I couldn’t help shaking a feeling that her real intent was to check out what was going on and figure out why no one was calling her to come back and save her class from the ills of a substitute teacher.  Sorry ma’am, but there’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Peder the Teacher.

Currywurt mit Pommes

Currywurst mit Pommes

But we’re cool, since we’ve gotten behind I have most of my lesson plan already written for tonight.  We got some grammar drills, a game and a stereotypical song about Currywurst.  All is good in the ‘hood.

– – – – –

(I’m a little surprised we’re covering food topics so late in the course.  I’d cover it first, if I were writing the curriculum.  A couple years ago a friend was leaving for a Peace Corps mission in central Sichuan.  He asked me which words he should first learn in that language.  “Food words,” I told him, “you can learn whatever else you need to know once you get there, but you’ll have to eat on day one.”)

– – – – –

99 Kriegsminister, Streichholz und Benzinkanister.
Hielten sich für schlaue Leute, witterten schon fette Beute.
Riefen “Krieg” und wollten Macht. Man wer hätte das gedacht?

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2 Responses to “My New Job: The Germanic-American Institute”

  1. […] by Peder on 12 January 2009 A while ago I wrote about my job with the Germanic-American Institute, where I have a lot of flexibility in developing lesson plans.  As one of my classes comes to a […]

  2. […] poem hung on the wall of the teacher’s lounge at the Germanic-American Institute. While I had read over it before, I hadn’t really read it […]

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