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Expat in Germany: Intensive German Course, Stuttgart: Part 2

Friday, September 10, 2010

Intensive German Course, Stuttgart: Part 2

Like my cat Samui, I too often want to hide from the world after my Intensive German Course, Stuttgart
I have made it through one week of my Intensive German Course in Stuttgart.  My head is spinning with how to conjugate verbs properly and trying to memorize the appropriate article for the noun but I am doing OK.  I'm actually doing better than OK since unlike some of my classmates; I had taken some German prior to this intensive German course.  Our teacher speaks very little English to us, and we are expected to look up any words we don't know in the dictionary - difficult to do when you are literally looking up every word she says and she talks fast.  This is not sitting well with some of the students.  
Two students called to complain that the Intensive German Course was too fast and not suitable for beginners even though this was a beginner's class.  But another, Russian student, felt it was too slow, so he refused to respond with the basic questions and answers we were given, i.e. "Backst du gern?"  (Do you like to bake?) and insisted on his own much more complicated version much to our teacher's chagrin.  She said this was not acceptable so he responded by also calling and complaining about our Intensive German Course.

The next day was an interesting one.  Clearly, the school administration had passed on the feedback to our Intensive German Course instructor who did not hide her frustration.  She said (all in German of course, so at least to the best of my understanding) we were already going more slowly than the normal pace and that if we went even more slowly we would all be in trouble for our test coming up in October.  She then said but it really didn't matter to her though how we did on our tests so we could go more slowly but some students were just being lazy and she didn't appreciate laziness in her classroom.   She further illustrated her point by giving us a record five pages of homework which took me a couple of hours to finish.

I think our Intensive German Course instructor's frustration is still lingering.  While I have only gotten a tap on my fingers and a disappointed head shake when I mistakenly put an extra "e" in my conjugated verbs, the 17 year old Mexican student today got read the riot act (in German of course).  It went something like "I don't think that you're unintelligent, but you need to concentrate and not be so lazy."  He didn't understand a word she said so her point was lost on him.  In addition to learning German, we are also learning a thing or two about German teachers when they are not happy – they can be downright scary. Despite this, I actually like our teacher (so long as her frustration is not directed at me) and can respect the difficult position she is in having worked in education for over ten years. Our teacher is definitely earning her money with our class. 

Intensive German Course, Stuttgart:  Part 3
Intensive German Course, Stuttgart:  Part 1
German Vocab That Makes My Life Easier



At September 10, 2010 at 4:50 PM , Blogger shufuinjapan said...

Ha! That sounds so familiar! I think this probably happens every time. There are just so many different levels of students even in the one class and also different levels of motivation. The ones who don't try or don't care get a real ear bashing from the teachers. The ones who just can't do it because of their lack of ability in languages are usually treated more kindly. So the chewing out of the Mexican student (the Mexican student in my class got chewed out a lot too)will continue as long as they don't try hard enough. I also think the fast speaking of the teacher will really pay off for you. In a few weeks or months you will be following 100 times more what she says and what regular people around you are saying. I had 2 teachers in my beginners class. One spoke slowly (was loved by everyone) and one spoke quickly (was hated by everyone for the first 2 months). A week is a long time in an intensive course, you will be amazed how fast your listening comprehension improves by being in class for 5 hours a day.

Loving the German class posts! Keep them coming.

At September 12, 2010 at 7:42 PM , Anonymous Riayn said...

Wow, your classes sound pretty hardcore. However, I guess 5 hours a day 5 days a week is a good way to learn German quickly.
Still, I would be fairly intimidated by a teacher who yelled at me when I got the spelling wrong (I'm notoriously bad at spelling). I hope my teacher is a little kinder.


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