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German teacher returning to the UK

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by roverlei, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. roverlei

    roverlei New commenter

    Hi all,

    After 10 years away from the UK, I'm returning. I'm a MFL teacher with 15 years' experience and have been teaching A-Level German for many years. I also have French as my second subject.

    Several friends have been quite negative about prospects for German teachers in London at the moment.

    What's the word on the street?
  2. I'd try not to worry. Some people are negative about it, yes. But hopefully things will change. Spanish has recently appeared to have taken over German in terms of popularity, something that I dislike. I don't like that the two most popular languages are both romance ones. It doesn't give pupils a real appreciation of world languages, that is, there is no real breadth in terms of linguistic knowledge; only depth. Spanish and French are extremely similar in terms of lexicon, syntax and morphology. The subject after all is "modern foreign languages" and by this, I expect pupils to have insight into at least two languages, each from different language branches or families. French and German is ideal for this. They link well with English too, since much of English vocabulary comes from French, but a lot of structure is still Germanic.
    I personally would prefer that pupils get an insight into another language, preferably non-European, such as Arabic, Mandarin, Turkish or Japanese, so that they can greater appreciate linguistic diversity, and realise that some languages are very different from English in terms of grammar and phonology.
    I would recommend you promote your knowledge of German as much as you can, and emphasise its advantages. It would be a sad day, when the only languages ever taught in schools are French and Spanish.
  3. roverlei

    roverlei New commenter

    Thanks for the fill-in, judodan. It also pays not to panic until I hit the ground, either. I agree whole-heartedly with your sentiment about not wanting two romance languages as the leading ones.

    My guess is going to be that German will for some time remain strong in independent schools especially, just like it has here in Australia. A colleague made the clever point recently, however, that as German teachers we seem to have spent a great deal of our careers battling to keep our language above water, whilst French rides on the back of 'traditionalism' and Spanish on the back of 'fad'. Not that I have anything at all against these languages, rather, it just seems that there always needs to be a justification for learning a specific language (i.e. you'll get a job selling widgets to Spain etc.), rather than simply learning a language for enjoyment, or because you might just discover something about your own mother tongue.
  4. "German was the
    most popular language required for jobs in September 2010, highlighting the war
    for talent when it comes to German speakers". That’s according to specialist
    language job board multilingualvacancies.com.

    "Statistics of jobs posted on the site show that with 460 roles, German is by
    far the most sought after language, with the next most popular one being
    French, required for 332 jobs. Other Western European languages were also in
    demand, with Dutch the third most requested language, followed by Spanish and
    Italian which both featured 132 times on job adverts in September. The
    Scandinavian languages were next on the list and there was also a niche demand
    for the languages of Japan
    and China.
  5. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    The reality in teaching is different though, so you can't necessarily apply what's going on in the industry to teaching jobs. For instance, to quote your example, I don't know of any school that offer Dutch and are therefore looking for a Dutch teacher - and before hikochan gets on my case I'm not saying that this is the way it should be, just the way it is. Similarly, although there are some strong pockets of German here and there (and my school is a good example of this, where German is more popular at GCSE than French), the reality is that in schools where languages are not compulsory, the necessity to survive has meant that Spanish often overtakes German, and perhaps sometimes French. It's just this stupid mentality of a lot of kids that they still strongly believe Spanish is a doss (holiday country), French is poncy and boring and German is the language of the nazi invaders. And in a universe where headteachers bend to the every whim of their pupils (or to be more precise, their parents) then they will continue to not give German the chance it deserves.
    Not that it's necessarily that different elsewhere. When I was at school in Switzerland, all of my schoolmates (and me included) didn't like the idea of doing German (difficult and the language of the hated majority), were looking forward to doing Italian (pizzas and pasta) and were keen on learning English (pop music and opening doors to jobs). Quite what we, as languages teachers, do to reverse the trend and get students excited about learning any language, not just Spanish, is beyond my little brain - no doubt hikochan will have a solution to offer.
  6. Roverle - is it possible / easy to find a job as a German teacher in Australia? I'd love to take advantage of the visa system with my teaching qualifications and get out there, but always thought i'd never find work as a teacher of German / French?

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