Rouanet-Gymnasium Beeskow

John says Goodbye

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Autor: John Ferguson

Datum: 11.06.2015

So Friday 29th May was my last day as an English language assistant at Rouanet Gymnasium after an amazing last 9 months working in the school. For me it has been an invaluable experience and I would like to thank all the teachers and particularly Frau Schloddarick and the English department for all their support and advice. I would of course also like to thank the students for their constant enthusiasm and desire to improve their English skills. This always made the classroom a fun place to be.
When I first arrived in Beeskow I was immediately struck by how pretty the town and the school was although I was initially a little worried by just how quiet life seemed to be there. I also noticed some obvious differences between school life in Germany compared to Scotland. For example; school begins an hour earlier in Germany, there is no school uniform or dress codes and there is no school bell to show the beginning and end of every lesson. Despite this appearing to be far more casual and informal than in the UK, I think it creates a more relaxed environment for students to thrive in and gives them a greater sense of independence and trust. One of my biggest shocks was just how good the standard of English was across all school years. I knew from previous experiences in Germany that the standard of English speaking was very high but I was definitely pleasantly surprised when I heard the students speak. Furthermore, over the course of the year I was impressed by the diversity and range of topics that are covered within the English curriculum. Not solely focussing on conversational skills and grammar, like my experiences of languages at school, but covering many important, current or historical topics that can be debated, argued and discussed.
Another great benefit at the school was the variety of classes that I got the chance to teach and the fact that with each member of the English department we worked in different ways with classes. This could vary from splitting the class in two parts, teaching one half then swapping half way through, working together in class alongside the teacher or helping the students prepare for oral exams and occasionally taking full classes on my own. So I was very grateful to get the chance to teach in a number of different ways.
Of course there have also been some challenges over the course of the year. Having to refine my strong Scottish accent was something that I had to quickly address after more than a few confused looks from students early on. But on the other hand, it was also an excellent chance for students to experience a native accent which is different to one that they are more used to. However, my biggest challenge was when I had to help cover many extra classes for a few months due to a colleague being unable to work. This meant taking on more classes and responsibilities and was very challenging but once again all invaluable experience for me.
Overall, it was a very positive experience and I just hope I have made a little difference to everyone's English over the course of the year. I would like to say to all the teachers to keep doing the great work that you all do and to the students, keep working hard and keep enjoying life and I am certain you will all go on to do great things in the future.