Over the past couple of months, I have had the honor of working as an English teaching assistant at the Rotteck-Gymnasium here in Freiburg. Today was my last day working with the youngest group (10 year-olds). I work with them in the morning from 7:50 to 9:30. Today’s class was very relaxed; I sat in a chair at the front of the classroom and fielded all of their questions about the United States and Chicago. It was a great exercise because I got to practice my German and they got to practice their English. This is their first ever English class, so I made a conscious effort to speak slowly and use simplified language. When they couldn’t express themselves in English or had trouble understanding my answers in English, I switched to German. Some of the questions were very common: What’s an elementary school like in the US? What are your favorite sports? Others were more politically charged: Do you feel safe in the US knowing people have easy access to guns? Do many people own them? I was happy to answer all of their questions and made a point of doing so honestly. It was interesting to witness their reactions to hearing things like metal detectors in high schools and school buses (which they don’t have in Freiburg); the former made me a bit ashamed at the current state of affairs. All in all, it was a very productive discussion. It was also good because it gave me a chance to inform them about my country as someone who actually lives there; many people in the world have an image of the US that is a result of the influx of US media and American soft power in the world. At the end of the class, they gave me a little “thank you” gift (I’ll attach a picture). I’m really lucky to have had the opportunity to work at the Rotteck-Gymnasium this summer!
Thanks for reading!