Peder with a D

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Posts Tagged ‘gai’

Big Party Tonight: Techno Karneval!

Posted by Peder on 13 February 2010

In Europe, Mardi Gras is called Karneval and is a huge party celebrated in major cities and small towns across the continent.  Costumes, music, people, laughter.  It’s all there.

In keeping with this most fun, if not grandest, of European end-of-winter traditions, the Germanic-American Institute (my employer) is hosting its annual party tonight!  In recent years the numbers have listed into the hundreds as people from around the region stream in with their crazy costumes to get their techno freak on.  You should definitely check it out!

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a German party, but they are not to be missed!

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New German Class

Posted by Peder on 9 December 2008

Last night I started teaching a new group of German students with the Germanic-American Institute. Check out the stories of some of the people in the class:

  • One young woman met a German while working together on an organic farm in Wales. Next summer she’ll be moving to Germany to spend four years with him working on an organic farming compound.
  • One middle-aged man recently inherited his father’s birth home in northern Bavaria. It’s located in a small, rural village of 1,200 which he visits twice a year.
  • A middle-aged woman will be traveling to Germany with her husband next summer. She’s only ever studied the language as a high school student in the early 1970s. Now she wants to get better so she can impress her husband who blends well in Spanish-speaking countries with a similar educational history.
  • A middle-aged man is planning a trip next year to Germany to gather info on his family’s lineage. He has records of his great, great … great grandfather born in 1718, and records on his mom’s side that date back to the 1500s.
  • A young woman recently married a German man and wants to learn the language of her new family. In September she was married on his family’s massive vineyard on the shores of the Rhine River.

Isn’t that awesome?!

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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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