I have had the opportunity to observe during multiple classes, but I have really learned a lot during English lessons and German lessons. I have seen English lessons in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th grade and I am blown away by how much English even the younger students already know. They practice their English a lot and many of the older students can have full conversations with me in English. I went up in front of each class and talked about schools in America and the students could ask me anything they wanted about America or about the schools. They were all so interested and wanted to practice their English skills when asking me questions.
Starting in 1st grade, the students begin learning English phrases like “Hello my name is…”, “I am _____ years old”, and “I am from _____”. They also learn numbers, pets, hobbies, and many different other English words and phrases. They sing songs to help them remember some of the English words, and the students are really succeeding. Even in 1st grade, the teacher’s try and only speak in English to help the students learn as much as possible.
During the 6th grade class, the students read from passages, learn about topics that are relevant to their lives, and do many different fun activities. Watching the students read passages almost perfectly made my teacher heart very happy. The students also do interviews, which is when two students talk back and forth trying to buy something or having a conversation about their day. The teachers want to teach the students English that may be relevant to them someday and the students love doing the interviews. The students and the teacher kept asking me how they sounded and if they were pronouncing everything right and I could not believe how much English they had learned already! Some students even start taking Spanish, Latin, or French once they are fluent in English.
Sitting in on a German class was an experience that I will appreciate throughout my career as a teacher. As I sat in the back of the room listening, I tried understanding what was going on and what the teacher and the students were saying. They did not use English once, and to be honest, I was beyond confused. I actually started to get a headache from trying to follow along and understand what was going on. This opened up my mind to how English language learners in America must feel. They are being thrown into a completely different environment surrounded by peers who do not speak their language. I felt confused and left out during the entire lesson, and I am sure many ELL’s are feeling the same way. I want to make sure all of my students always feel included and I want to find a way to keep the ELL students involved and welcome in my classroom. I had a small glimpse into what these children go through every day and I am so grateful for that opportunity. I have learned so many amazing ways to teach students English, and I am going to make sure that all of my students are getting the education that they deserve.
I am so sad that my time in Germany is almost over, but I am living in the moment and loving every minute of it!