What is your area of expertise? I think the biggest strength I bring to the classroom is a knowledge of culture and civilization, particularly of Germany and Austria. I’ve acquired this not only through formal study but also through a lifetime of experience in those countries.
The fundamental underlying human value language teachers impart is respect for other people’s differences. We impart it not by preaching but by introducing students to the rich cultural achievements of the peoples whose language we teach.
Share an “aha!” moment that you’ve had within your discipline that made you feel passionate about your field. There are so many “aha” moments in my many years of study that it is hard to single out just one. I must go back to high school, the summer of 1967, when I traveled to Germany and Austria for the first time with my teacher, Frau Cote, and several classmates. It was the overwhelming, life-changing experience one might imagine for a 16-year-old who had never left the country before. We spent three weeks in Germany and three weeks in Austria. I wasn’t back home much longer than a few days before I started thinking of ways I could return! A new world was opened for me. I returned from that trip knowing that I would do something with language and travel. It turned out to be teaching.
Share with us one aspect of student engagement that you enjoy most, and why? I enjoy interacting with students on so many levels. The youthful enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity they bring to classroom inspire me and help me to stay young at heart. Their questions keep me on my toes! They often have a keen interest in aspects of contemporary German culture that I know little about, the current music scene, for example. I think of Anna in “The King and I.”
“It’s a very ancient saying,
But a true and honest thought,
That if you become a teacher,
By your pupils you’ll be taught.”
What is one thing you wish people knew about your academic discipline or your research focus? Again, I return to culture in terms of my academic discipline. When many think of Germany, it is Bavaria that comes to mind, the Octoberfest and brass bands, the Alps, and Mad King Ludwig’s fairytale castles. This is an irritant for my German friends. Although Bavaria is Germany’s biggest state, there are 15 other states in the country with diverse cultures.
How long have you taught at Rowan? What has inspired you to continue teaching? I am in my 17th year of teaching at Rowan. I love standing in front of a classroom of young people. Every class is different. Each offers its own rewards and challenges. One’s day is never the same. From my pupils I am taught.
Like what you see? Come visit us!
Story and photography by:
Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major