Tag Archives: German

Student Teachers

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 6.43.47 AM

Someday this will be in German!



All teachers should be students.

It could be learning Chinese or basket weaving or handstand push-ups; it doesn’t matter, as long as you are acquiring information that has never before popped your neurons.

As teachers, we can forget things such as that deer-in-the-headlights reaction when your name is called or the maddening frustration of failure.

As students, particularly as students of a foreign language, we magically go from educated to illiterate when the bell chimes 08:00.

We make a thousand little mistakes that pelt us like freezing rain. It is hard and humbling; and it is perhaps the best lesson a teacher can learn: the art of failure.

Slowly, too slowly it seems, this gelatinous mass of information begins to take shape. Soon, we find ourselves making new errors, and so the learning continues.

As a teacher, there is nothing more rewarding than to see a student use knowledge you helped him acquire. To watch a student go from stuttering to eloquent in a matter of weeks or months, is perhaps one of the reasons many teachers love their profession and put up with the unpaid hours of work that go into it.

Students, quite often, are too steeped in their studies to be objective about their own learning. As students, we tend to see only our failures and not our triumphs. We look to the next area we can improve, rather than looking back to where we began.

Being a student has helped me to be a better teacher because I know exactly how my student feels when he uses the wrong preposition or gets hung up on finding the ‘perfect’ word, which he suddenly can’t remember.

Likewise, the best coaches are the ones who also train. Maybe they have years of knowledge and experience, but unless a coach is also in the trenches, respect is a little difficult for me to muster.

When I lived in the country, the village hunter would drive his little car along the dirt road, his dog running alongside. This was also the hunter who recommended I bite my dog’s ear, to get him to submit. These are not the teaching methods that inspire me.

I am not learning advanced chemistry or particle science here–it’s only German. I think millions of people probably speak it, and in time, I will too.

But as long as I’m a teacher, I want to be learning too. I never want to forget what it’s like to be illiterate or to be the person doing push-ups against the wall (yes…that’s what I did 2 years ago).

I feel like the universe is smiling at me when I make the same mistakes in  German that my students make in English. It’s amusing and frustrating, but it gives me a new way of understanding how I can help my students achieve their goals.

And now, my time is up.

I have to go to school!



vintage thanksgiving (6)

Four days of no Crossfit is 3 1/2 too many. And now that we’re about a week post-feast, I can fit back into my spandex, but it was touch and go there for a while, and I started the hunt for the perfect sweatpants, just in case.

The day after Thanksgiving, we did go to the pool, and I did wear my size small bikini, but I felt like a BIG, FAT SLUG. It was a feeling that lasted through Saturday’s eight-mile run, Monday’s WOD, and lingered until yesterday’s great CWOD. Even though I was slow yesterday, I think I sweated a LOT of the slugness out of me. 

The hard part about holiday eating is simply the “it’s only once a year” mindset. Because if it’s only once a year, you’d better eat AS MUCH AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN before the cucumber and lettuce hammer falls once again.

If you have a gluten problem, like me, then you also feel obligated to eat the entire gluten-free apple pie your daughter baked, because she went to so much trouble. And as for the gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake…I made that PURELY for the kids.

Okay, that was a lie. But it’s only once a year, right?

vintage thanksgiving (11)

No. The once a year thing has got to stop. Because in addition to the pure wrong-ness of binge eating as much fat and sugar as possible within a 24 hour time frame, it can really throw off your healthy-eating groove, and launch you into a toxic hunger death spiral. Pretty soon you’re bloated and craving sugar popcorn while you online shop for sweatpants.

I need balance in my life in all areas. I think it will be FINE to have Mandeln nuts at the Christkindlesmarkt, but maybe I should have the kleine Tüte and not the grossen. Maybe I CAN have some pumpkin cheesecake on Christmas, but not half the pie.

This will be a battle. In addition to the traditional German foods that emerge from hibernation this time of year, my mother is visiting for the holidays, and she will bring family recipes that have been part of the holiday season since Eve baked the first sugar cookie.

I hate to seem finicky about food, but too much dairy makes my hands ache; too much salt makes my knees hurt; too many grains make me bloated; a little gluten feels like I’ve swallowed nails; and too much gluten knocks me out faster than a shot of Rohypnol.

I am THE world’s worst dinner guest!

Or maybe I’m the BEST because I bring my own food? 

The point is: when I throw off the health fetters, I’m harming my body. I’ve got to really focus on how I’m fueling my body–even if the entire house smells like freshly-baked cookies.

The path leading to the holidays is dangerous–go with caution!