Since my primary purpose here is to spread American goodwill through teaching at the Berufsbildende Schule Bingen (ha, and you thought it was to blog. Sometimes, so do I), I thought I’d keep you abreast of what sort of goodwill I’m spreading.
Just to give you an idea about my role in the classroom, these students at the BBS are students at a vocational college. This means they’re studying for jobs in business, marketing, computer science, electronics, and hospitality industries – with a handful of beauticians and cooks thrown in for good measure. My own education consisted mainly of English literature anthologies and my parents/boyfriend shaking their head in despair at my inability to comprehend all things financial and practical, and my future plans involve academic librarianship. So! Needless to say, this year I’m learning quite a bit too – about German, yes, but also about business English, business resumes, business lunches, business interviews – a practical experience for me as well as (I hope) for the students.
This means, of course, that the bulk of my work in the classroom has involved helping with mock interviews, talking with students about their practice resumes, and playing out scenarios wherein I am a foreign visitor being greeted by a receptionist. Topics like this, while important to these students’ interests and education, probably won’t make this page too often, but rest assured – I am being put to good use here, and learning quite a bit on the side.
Still, just to give you an idea of other things I’ve been able to do, here’s a running list of some of the lessons I’ve been able to present on my own (if you’re interested in the visual aid I used, it’s a Word file that downloads to your computer):
- America and Immigration
Another excuse to use a Schoolhouse Rock video, this time The Great American Melting Pot.
- American Environmentalism
Yes kids, all your stereotypes of our giant cars, huge houses, and unsustainable infrastructure… are actually just about right.
- Christmas in America
Explaining the phenomena of Black Friday, Rudolph, and shopping mall Santas.
- The History of America in Half an Hour Timeline
This lesson was a toughy. Lots of info to fit into a short amount of time. Read more about how this one went over here.
- Branches of Government
System of Checks and Balances, current issues in American politics, basic information about the parties, all in time for the midterm elections.
- The Ups and Downs of Being a Teenager
Featured a debate on whether or not the topic of sexuality in US high schools is too stifled. Ah, that was fun, and never where I intended to go with that lesson. Topics like that are not stifled in the German classroom, that much I can tell you.
A debate for a small conversation group on the new proposed advertisements on cigarette packs, whether the government should be able to have this control, and the perception of smoking/smokers in the US versus Germany.
- Route 66
The history, significance, and mythology of Route 66. Also featured a “virtual roadtrip” down Route 66.