From Germany to teach at FHS
Farragut High School German language students may soon be learning from a native.
Barring red tape with her VISA application, Magdalena Belz of Lower Saxony, Germany, is expected to join FHS’s German language teacher, Ryan Linger, as an exchange student teacher, starting in October.
“I’m like 70 percent really excited and enthusiastic, and 30 percent scared and anxious,” Belz said in a Zoom meeting. “I want to get going.
“The bureaucracy is so tough,” she said. “I’ve been sending e-mails applying for this and applying for that, and the pandemic doesn’t make anything easier.
“We are a go (with Belz’s coming to FHS); we are just waiting on international red tape,” Linger said.
Belz attends Leipzig University in Saxony, where she is studying online education, English and German.
“This program (Meet Young Germany) essentially, is funded through a bureau in the German government,” Linger explained. “The idea of the program is that they take young people who are at universities studying pedagogy and education.
“University students will do a round of student teaching, much like university students here, but instead (it will be) almost like an exchange year,” he said. “I applied for this in tandem with our Knox County Schools specialist for world languages, Darlene Davenport.
“We worked together to complete this application process,” Linger said. “We were awarded a TA last year; but due to COVID-19, we were unable to receive a student teacher because of the county guidelines surrounding COVID-19.”
This year, “we’re fortunate that given slightly different circumstances with county policy, we were able to welcome Magdalena Belz,” he added.
“It’s quite an honor to receive a TA,” Linger said. “Last year, they placed around 12 to 15 around the entire United States.
“For students in a world language, there is nothing better than getting to interact with the people who are familiar with the culture or are actually from the culture they’re studying,” he said.
“Moreover, it’s really great to have not just one, but two German teachers in the classroom, one of whom is actually from Germany.”
Linger noted a lot of times students ask such questions as “What would a German do in this situation?”
While he lived in the country for two years, Linger conceded, “It’s probably a lot easier and more comfortable for a person from that country to answer (the question).”
Once Belz completes her university requirements, she would teach English and German to fifth through 13th grades, noting some states in Germany have a 13th grade, depending on the state.