The German language student’s “perilous” journey

The German language student's "perilous" journey

I’m deeply interested in the human nature and I am fascinated by the process of learning languages because learning the German language like learning any language is connected with experiencing oneself from a completely new angle. Who am I when I am not able to express myself as eloquently as in my native language? How do I cope with feeling insecure speaking a new language while sensing that I have to perform satisfyingly to other in society? No matter how much the companies behind Duolingo or Rosetta Stone try to tell you that learning German is easy and fun, they’ll always fall short of this very promise because it is not only (!) easy and fun but also laborious and requires discipline and endurance to get to ones goal of using the foreign language effortlessly.

The German language student's journey
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The Role of the German language Tutor

The role of a German language tutor, well, that of language teachers to be precise, has been widely studied and discussed and in the end, I guess, every tutor has to find out her role herself. What good is a role I take on that I can’t really identify with? If you asked me what my role as a German tutor is, I’d say that I’m a companion and a guide.

I know the pitfalls and the sites worth visiting and I can tell you stories about them that will take you in their ban. I walk next to you when you are tired and remind you of what you have already achieved on your path and help you keep your spirit up until the journey becomes lighter again. I’ll lead you through places just exciting enough to not get scared but thrilling enough to throw in a bit of extra effort so that you eventually reap the benefits of your work. Teaching is not done top down but eye to eye. Ask yourself: what makes a teacher a teacher? I give you a minute…

Studying the German language is a wonderful journey – Let’s take it together

You, the student, make a teacher what she is. Without a student there wouldn’t be any teacher. Above all, a teacher doesn’t have to be a genius, right? She just needs to be one step ahead of you knowledge wise. Yet, knowledge is only a small part of what matters in order to teach well. The bigger and far more important part I find is the ability to put oneself into the shoes of the student and to feel where she is in her process. That allows me to stay in the background when I’m not needed and to not interfere with her process. Maybe guide her a bit in the right direction, disguised as a sign post.

That matters because it is such a lovely experience to achieve a goal all on one’s own. If I did your work for you, how could you ever feel good about “your” results? Abgesehen davon that I could only get you this far. It is the tough times when a tutor needs to shine. And she can help because she has walked the path of language learning many times as a (German) language learner herself but also as an observer of many wanders that have walked the path under her guidance. With every student’s journey she sees the same path from a new angle and she sees more and more pitfalls which she then learns to maybe not even avoid but to exploit to her students’ benefit as in every problem there is something deep and beautiful to learn. Working through problems on one’s own is cumbersome and painful but with a companion, it’s manageable and coming out of a dark pit into the sun is a wonderful experience.

Michael Schmitz a German language tutor with blue square glasses and a blue jacket

How one German language tutor can be the companion of thousands

Since I launched my first Online German language course in 2017 I’ve served over 6000 German learners. While I have a small yet wonderful team that supports me with the many tasks that constantly pop up, I’m doing all German language related support on my own. How is that possible you might wonder. Let’s me share that secret with you.

First of all, not all 6000 students are constantly working. Life often intervenes so that many learners need to take a break here and there. Others have already finished their course and are long enjoying the beauty of speaking German in the wild. Let’s say there are 1500 pretty active learners at the moment of which only half need the occasional personal support. Most answers to questions German language learners have can be easily found in our Community which not only serves as hub for my personal exchange with all of them but also as a searchable and expandable FAQ. Whenever a learner can’t find an answer within 2-3mins, they can post their question there and I respond usually on the same day. That’s fast enough. After all we are talking about learning the German language here and not a heart transplantation.

I might one day need a bit of help with this but so far I’m doing fine. Keeping in touch with my German students has proven to be an incessant source of inspiration and provides me with invaluable insights into the German language learners journey which I then can turn into a new technique, an improved lesson or simply an even finer intuition which is priceless when working with sensitive humans.

To be expanded

I might expand this article over time. I would love to ponder a bit more about time, speed, expectations, money, boredom, structure, perfectionism, wrong goals and the source of motivation. I do that a lot in my free Group coaching though as students often ask questions related to these topics. Maybe say hello one day. Try this link, maybe it still works. If it doesn’t simply sign up for one of my free trial lesson and you shall receive the memo for the next meetup. Until then, take care or as we say in German: Pass auf Dich auf.