May 6, 2013
1. How would you describe your “teacher-self” in a few words to your prospective students?
REGULA: I really enjoy to be a teacher, and I think I have the necessary patience for it. I like grammatic games, words like „Heimweh“, „Nothelferkursleiterin“, or „die zu Fuß Gehenden“, and I like to sing „Bruder Jakob“ for remembering the accusative prepositions.
UWE: Languages are my passion. And so are students and everybody else, who is interested in studying them. I love my work and I am looking forward to bringing the grandeur and beauty of our languages to you.
2. What do your students find most difficult about learning the German language?
R: For native English speakers the difference between „u“ and „ü“ are very difficult to pronounce, even more so in combination with „r“: würde or wurde? Also the many verbs and adjectives demanding a special preposition require a lot of learning.
U: I think the most difficulties arise in keeping the rules and vocabulary in mind. I love working with a lot of mnemonic tricks to ease this process.
3. Can you describe the learning atmosphere here at Deutsches Haus?
R: The little house is comfy, the learning atmosphere at Deutsches Haus is very friendly but also challenging. Our students come here to learn a language, and we are more than happy to help. I also like the teamwork with my colleagues and also the support from staff and director’s team. Also I enjoy the changing exhibitions as they bring the world to the house.
U: Deutsches Haus offers an open, non-judgmental environment, where teachers pay close attention to the different speed of learning of each individual student.
4. What are the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of being a German teacher?
R: What I like most? All the interesting people I meet in the classes and onsite teaching. They bring their own knowledge and experiences to the classes, which makes the lessons interesting and lively, and also for me very informative. The most difficult part? When a person would like to speak German, but has no time to do the homework or learn the vocabulary and thus is frustrated.
U: Being a teacher who primarily teaches higher levels and Reading Comprehension, my most rewarding aspects are being able to see a student gradually becoming more and more independent in his expressions or translation work.
5. Which language would you personally like to learn and why?
R: I would like to learn Greek in the future – so many of our words are of Greek origin, and I’m very interested in these historical connections. But for now I try to improve my Spanish which I learned uncontrolled and now is lacking the grammatical basis.
U: Learning a language is a life-long process. There are always new aspects to consider, so improving and fine-tuning the languages I know is my long-term goal.
6. Can you describe what the German term “Heimat” means to you?
R: Heimat? Heimat are friends and places, bearing a lot of good and longtime memories. Switzerland is „Heimat“ for me – my family lives there, and I’m looking forward to seeing my forth grandniece soon! Very important are also my many friends I still have there. But also New York became „Heimat“ to me, because of the many good friends I found here – also at Deutsches Haus. When I’m coming back from a trip, driving from the airport by bus back to Manhattan, I feel at home, and I enjoy meeting the nice New Yorkers, being much more outgoing and friendlier than the „Zürcher“. I have an old and a new „Heimat“.
U: “Heimat” to me is not necessarily a geographic location. Heimat could be smells, sounds, gestures, food, light, and many other things that remind you of home and give you a certain sense of familiarity and intimacy.