Ultimately, this is the least important page on my site, which is why you find it in the next-to-last page position on my site. If you are interested in exactly who your future teacher is, this may be relevant to you, but the only really important question is: “How well can I teach you to communicate in the language you want to learn?” All else is background noise.
I am a teacher. It’s not just what I do but who I am. In high school, I was already tutoring my fellow students in both German and English. Aside from teaching languages, I started teaching martial arts as a hobby in 1986 and have continued to do so. I have also taught courses in Traditional Thai Massage and in applied social psychology. I learn things, break them down into their component parts, reassemble them into more easily understood units of knowledge and then pass them on to others. It’s what I do. I am a teacher.
German is my mother tongue. I was born in Bonn, Germany, in 1960 and lived in Germany for the first five years of my life. With both of my parents being German, that has always been my home language.
We emigrated to South Africa at the end of 1965 and I began with my schooling at the German School in Cape Town (D.S.K.) in 1966. The teachers were German, my fellow pupils were German, their parents were all German. My circle of friends, at least initially, was German.
Over the years, though, living in an ex-British colony such as South Africa, I became fluent in the language that everyone outside of my “German bubble” communicated in, i.e. English. At age twelve, I started working in the tourism industry on weekends and in my school holidays, so that accelerated my process of learning English and let me make new, non-German friends.
I think in both languages, the context in which I find myself in at any given point determining which language I am using. Having dinner with my German friends or teaching a German conversation class, I think in German. Asking a shop assistant something or chatting with my local friends, I think in English. This bilingualism and the multicultural nature of South African society has afforded me the privilege of having an open-minded outlook on life, which I might not necessarily have had if I had stayed in the village I initially grew up in, in Germany. I am incredibly thankful for that.
I finished school at seventeen and began studying at the University of Cape Town shortly before my eighteenth birthday. Given my love of languages, German and English were the obvious subject choices. After completing my Bachelor’s degree in these subjects I did a one-year postgraduate teacher’s qualification and then continued for a further year to a B.A. Honours degree in German.
My first teaching post was at the local Waldorf School. After some time there, I decided to get married and start a family and, since this would have been extremely difficult to do on a local teacher’s salary, I left teaching for a while and worked in a variety of management positions in the food and hospitality industry.
I still taught privately on the side and also taught martial arts classes and as soon as my children had grown up, I went back to teaching on a full-time basis. One significant mindset I brought back into my teaching from the business world was an orientation towards achieving results.
In theory, all teaching is supposed to create a positive result. Undoubtedly most students learn something, the question to me always being whether they could possibly have learned it in a shorter time frame. The old fashioned approach of learning vocabulary and learning grammar and then generating sentences by applying the grammar to a selection of the words learned should have died with the dinosaurs (more on this and my teaching methods in my blog).
I have again been working as a full-time language teacher at several local schools for more than a decade and cannot see myself doing anything else for the rest of my life!
To live is to communicate. To communicate, you need to be understood. To be understood, you need to speak a language that the other person can understand. Given my decades of teaching experience, I can help you with that!