Notes from a German Teacher
Name: Paul Asleson
School: Billings West High School and Billings Senior High School
Language(s) Taught: German, English (in Germany)
Years of Experience: 4 years as a full-time teacher, but this is my first year teaching German
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Teaching German and Russian from University of Montana; Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary from Dominican University (IL)
What is the most rewarding part of your career as a language teacher? I love the range of teaching novice learners all the way up to levels 3 and 4. It’s fun to spend the morning summarizing, analyzing, and discussing articles, videos, stories, etc. and to then shift to an afternoon of “firsts” in level 1, where you get to be the first person to teach them about German language and culture.
What is one personal or professional goal that you have for yourself, your school or your department? At West High, I am gearing up to start an AP German course next school year with the support of colleagues at both West High and Senior High. The addition of AP has implications for all levels of German, so it’s exciting to revamp the German curriculum at the 1-3 levels.
What is one of your favorite travel experiences? I’ve come to embrace the fact that although I love traveling, I also have horrible luck while traveling: the number of mishaps involving trains, busses, and airplanes is embarrassing. My favorite traveling mishap that I like to tell (and laugh about now) is when my train from Amsterdam back to Germany hit a car that was parked on the train tracks. Don’t worry, no one was injured in the collision--or as the Dutch conductor described it: “It wasn’t personal.”
Do you have any advice for other world language teachers? Every class, even within the same level, is different and needs constant differentiation. Mix it up constantly to figure out what works and what doesn’t!