von Wally Spiers, Belleville News-Democrat. October 6, 2006
Instruction styles are observed in visit from Paderborn teachers
THREE teachers from Goerdeler Gymnasium in Paderborn spent a couple of weeks observing at O'Fallon Township High School courtesy of Belleville Sister Cities Inc. and the Paderborn German-American Friendship Committee.
They teach at a gymnasium but that doesn't mean they are involved with physical education. Gymnasium means preparatory school in Germany, said Gabriele Lambrechts, 46, who teaches English, history and Dutch. She has been teaching for 16 years.
The other teachers were Almut Ulama, 52, a 21-year veteran who teaches music and English, and Nadia Weber, 36, who teaches English, French and philosophy, an 11-year veteran.
As might be expected, their English is excellent, which is good since my German is nonexistent. Everyone in Germany is expected to learn English, Ulama said.
The trio was very happy with their experience. They had time-out of school to visit area attractions in St. Louis and the Abraham Lincoln museum in Springfield.
They also saw a Cardinals baseball game.
"We didn't understand the rules but it was very exciting," Ulama said.
Lamhrechts said there are many differences in the educational systems of the two countries.
"In Germany. our school goes from sixth grade through 13th grade," Ulama said. "Students are 19, even 20 when they graduate.
"They do not have so many electives. We do not have multiple choice exams. There are a lot of essays, even in math."
Students do not move from class to class but the teachers do. The schedule is not always the same from day to day.
Schools follow what we would call a year-round calendar with more breaks instead of a long summer holiday.
"We weren't teaching but during the German lessons we answered a lot of questions," Llama said.
"The students asked so many questions, very interesting questions," Lambrechts said.
She said teachers in Germany actually dress more casually than teachers here and can even wear blue jeans.
In Germany, it takes at least five years of university to teach and then an additional two years of teacher training, Ulama said.
"Teacher training was the hardest time of my life," she said. "You were always being examined, critiqued."
One of their hosts in O'Fallon, German teacher Kathy Ashby Ontiveros, has already visited Paderborn and two other teachers are to go after school is out next summer.
The teachers from Germany are scheduled to fly back today. "When we get back, there will still be one week of vacation left. But we have a lot of grading still waiting," Laubrechts said, sighing.
German exchange teachers visiting Belleville are, from left, Nadia Weber, Gabriele Lambrechts and Almut Ulama. Here they pose outside Belleville City Hall by the Sister Cities program sign.
von links nach rechts sehen wir:
Gabriele Lambrechts, Pat Hasenstab ( Gastgeber von Frau Lambrechts)
Herrn Russell Clover ( O'Fallon Township High School Superintendent )
Alan Elfrink ( Gastgeber von Frau Nadia Weber )
Frau Almut Ulama ( Gastgeberin von Frau Ashby Ontiveros im Juni 2006 in PB )
Nadia Weber,Kathy Ashby Ontiveros ( Gastgeberin von Frau Ulama in Belleville )
Im Juni 2007 werden die beiden Männer Pat Hasenstab und Alan Elfrink zu uns ans Goerdeler Gmynasium kommen.
Pat zu Frau Lambrechts und Alan zu Frau Weber.
Frau Kathy Ashby Ontiveros war bereits hier. Sie wurde von Frau Ulama liebevoll betreut.