Saturday, February 5, 2011

German Class Update

Ok, this is mostly a rant. I don't expect anyone to really read it, just need to get my thoughts written down.

On Thursday and Friday, we took a test to track our progress. Because I'm taking a class geared towards foreigners moving permanently to Germany, no one really fails or gets held back. I wished they would, because I can think of at least one student that is always holding up the class. I sat next to her one day, and she just always seemed lost, and looking at my answers. It's getting on my nerves.

Anyway, as I mentioned before, I'm good at reading and writing, bad at speaking. It was no surprise that I rocked it on the writing and reading parts (and did ok on the hearing too, surprisingly) and almost failed the speaking part. I got a 40 out of 45 on the reading/writing/hearing, and a 9.5/15 on the speaking. 

In fact, the teacher said that out of the class of about 15, only three people seemed to understand the letter writing part. I got a 10 out of 10 on that portion!

When we did the speaking part, she had us come to a room in groups of three or four. We got handed a card, and had to ask a question about the object on the card. She had me sit in position #1, so as soon as I got my card, I had to come up with a question. All the others in the group got a few minutes to think it over! And she never changed the order either. I'm slower when it comes to forming an answer, and I suddenly got very nervous that I was being asked to come up with an answer within seconds of receiving the instructions.

And of course I got put in a group with two people in the class that are really getting on my nerves, and although the one speaks well, he never really understands what's being asked of him, so I have to try to explain. And then he thinks I don't understand because I don't answer his question... it's a big mess really. And if I call him out on a wrong answer, he thinks he's still right. 

Earlier, this same guy laid into this other classmate for not coming to the first portion of the exam, even though he only comes to class half the time! And then he had the audacity to get up in front of the class while the teacher was testing another group of students and try to teach us German sentence structure, which he kept messing up. We kept telling him to sit down, but then he got mad that we were just sitting around and not learning anything, and starting yelling at us, "no one wants to learn here except D, " D being the one person answering his questions. What was I doing? The actual assignment the teacher gave us to do. 

I talked to the teacher after class (in English), and she and the other teacher agree that our class was the worst they have seen as far as leaving class to go smoke, lack of attendance, or returning late from the break. Also, there seems to be an overall lack of trying to converse. I guess I can get lazy with that at times too, considering since 3/4 of the class knows English, but I always try to answer the teacher using complete sentences and expending on what I'm saying, or trying to say new things when she asks what we do on our weekends or evening.

I really needed to get that off my chest. To complete all the modules, it lasts until June, and it looks like there's no breaks. I can choose to take off and restart anytime, but that leaves at least a month of me not doing anything. I may consider taking the morning class instead of the afternoon, I just don't want to leave the friends I've made and have gotten comfortable with helping each other. Well, it's the weekend now, maybe I'll have a new outlook come Montag. 


  1. If it helps at all, check your base library's children section for the Muzzy and Lyrical Languages series. I know they are "kid" programs and cd's but they help adults learning the language as well. Especially in the verbal area. Lyrical Languages has catchy songs that help you remember the vocalization of words better than see and repeat. I use both for my 7 yr old ( who is learning German as a second language) and myself ( as a refresher from when I was younger).
    I am so sorry to hear that your class has such a lack of ambition towards the class. It almost sounds like my high school German class, lol. I would talk to the teacher about switching to the AM class and see what her thoughts are on it if you think that it would be a better environment for you. In college, I had to rearrange my schedule to switch out of a class that was proving counter productive because of a less than enthusiastic group. Once I made the switch, I was glad that I had because I felt that I was getting more out of the class. Hope this helps.
    ~Rosie :D

  2. Thanks Rosie. A student in Module 6 (we're in 2) came over and chit-chatted and he said he got little kid DVDs in German and that helped him a lot. His German was really good and I was so jealous!

    We're actually looking into getting a blu-ray player that isn't region specific (can play all dvds), and I was thinking about getting some. But I'll check the library first, thanks!

  3. Oh dear. That doesn't sound like much fun. Hope you'll have a better week coming up. This is some difficult language anyway to learn, how much more if the class doesn't comfort you. Maybe I should invite you over to have some chat in German with you - would be much more fun (and we might even live in the same area).
    Maybe there's two little ideas that might help you: Try to talk German with the Germans. Even as most of them are speaking English they are always helpful if you try to talk in their language (and don't worry about any mistakes). And the second is: Get German TV and watch the childrens channels and the American soaps (but of course in German). Watching TV and listening to the radio had improved my English a lot when I was living in America.

  4. Thanks much! We don't have the TV hooked up to broadcast TV, but we might consider it if it doesn't cost a lot. I do listen to German radio though.

    I took Spanish in high school, and I do agree that German is difficult, especially since I'm not used to the articles (die, das, der) and the rules.

    When I tried practicing Spanish with people from Mexico, I used to get laughed at! At least Germans have been very good about it, but since many know Enligh here, it's just easier for them to speak to me in English.

    I live near Kaiserslautern. Is it true that on Sunday nights, some villages have get-togethers at the local Gasthaus? I've heard of some people going to these to practice their German, but I haven't had the guts to see if they do that in my little village.

  5. Hm, maybe I email you about the TV thing (that's a little bit special).
    I don't think anyone will laugh at your German here, that's for sure! If you tell them that you want to practice then they will talk German with you. However, I have to admit - I am one of thouse who love to talk English and are much too quick on switching languages...
    These get-togethers at the Gasthaus are - well, more the generation before us :-). If there are people in our generation then the majority would be men. Could more be something for your husband to join in. It's called Stammtisch and it's usually folks that used to meet there for ages (at least that's the way it is in Bavaria where I come from).
    If you like to get in contact with Germans then maybe you join a church group at the local church or try the Volkshochschule - they give courses on a local basis.
    Kaiserslautern is a bit far to meet for coffee but email me if you like.

  6. Does your post have a German-American group? Ours meets for dinners and they don't mind if all you do is go to the dinners and chat. Also check with the library and see if they might have a group get together to chat. German Conversation lunch. I can totally understand your frustration and its good to vent [otherwise you might snap at them in person, though you may find you pop off with perfectly good Deutsche! hehe] Keep at it!!

  7. Katja, the classes I'm taking are at the Volkshochshule, actually. That's what I thought about the Gasthaus. My village has many older people, and we are cordial to each other on the streets, I just don't know how to strike up a conversation. And yes, I've found that the Germans around here like practicing their English.

    Jenny, I do know of a German-American group. They seem to be an older crowd, so I was little apprehensive to go at first, but I really should just put myself out there and go for it. My husbands works nights now, so it might be a good way to spend my evenings.

  8. Good for you for learning German! I definitely agree with Katja's comments. Get out there and learn the German from the locals. Take another class at the Volkshochschule - exercise or hobby or ???. Watching TV also helped me, although just a little in comparison to being with German speakers. Enjoy it!

  9. Oh, how frustrating! I hate when people don't take school seriously!