German Classes Los Angeles

Strommen Teacher Spotlights – Emanuel

Emanuel is a German teacher and a journalist, he has lived in Saarbrücken, Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin.

Our teachers are the best and they deserve to be highlighted. In our new section, Strommen Teacher Spotlights, we will ask our best teachers a few fun questions and  let them take it away from there.

What is your favorite word in German?

“Muckefuck.” Pronounced “MOOKK-eh-fookk.” I think it’s a hilarious word. It’s an herbal coffee substitute, usually malt coffee. It’s not clear where the word is derived from. It’s either taken from the Rhineland slang for “brown dusty earth” (“muck”) and “foul-tasting”, or it’s taken from the French “Mocca faux” – fake coffee.

You are one of Strommen’s most popular Language teachers. Students tell us how awesome you are all the time. Why do you think that is?

It’s not me, it’s s the language that’s awesome! Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate what a deeply rich, beautiful and poetic language German really is. I love it, and I love teaching, and I think students can feel that.

How have you adapted to teaching in quarantine?

I kind of love teaching in quarantine! It brightens up my day, and the students are happy to have a break from their normal routine. Online classes can be effective, I always send out class materials ahead of time, and we do a very structured mix of reading, writing, talking, plus various online tools such as video and audio.

Where are you from and where have you lived?

I’m from a small town in Germany called Saarbrücken. I’ve lived in Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin. I’ve traveled pretty extensively through most of Europe and much of the US, plus I’ve visited India and China. In the United States, I very briefly lived in Texas as a kid, and now in California.

What languages do you speak? What languages do you teach?

I’m from a small town in Germany called Saarbrücken. I’ve lived in Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin. I’ve traveled pretty extensively through most of Europe and much of the US, plus I’ve visited India and China. In the United States, I very briefly lived in Texas as a kid, and now in California.

What do you miss most about your hometown?

My hometown of Saarbrücken is a small industrial town on the French border. There are a lot of old steel mills and coal plants. But the surrounding nature is stunningly beautiful. The thing I miss most about it is my best friend, who still lives there. I talk to him all the time.

What is the coolest job you had with Strommen? 

Being a dialect coach and consultant for 1930s Germany on the show “Transparent.”

What are your interests outside of teaching at Strommen?

I love reading and writing books, I love bicycling, I’m a passionate movie fan and I do a little bit of boxing, but I’m not good at it.

How do you stay connected to your home country in LA?

Reading and writing in German, mostly. And, of course, teaching German. My feelings about Germany are ambivalent, because Germany is such a complicated country. But the one thing that keeps me connected is my love for the language. Also, I like German literature a lot. (Although, to be honest, it’s the Austrian writers that move me the most!)

Any advice for beginners to your language?

Don’t worry about the various endings, all the conjugations and declensions. Try to first understand the guiding principles of the language and its foundations. The rest comes easy. Study every day or every second day for about 15 to 25 minutes. It’s about having a consistent approach and a clear plan to practice the nuts and bolts of the grammar. Keep it simple and follow the plan, and don’t stress about it.

What did you do before teaching

I worked for German magazines and newspapers, and I still do, on occasion. And I did a lot of translations and subtitling. Before joining Strommen, I worked at various language schools all over L.A., and they were wonderful, but I think Strommen is a really great school, for the students as well as the teachers.

Do you like working with Strommen? Why?

I love it. The students, I think, get a very fair deal, and the teachers are treated with respect. I have a lot of flexibility and was able to design a curriculum that I think really works.

What is your favorite thing about teaching your language specifically?

I enjoy unpacking the mysteries of German and I love the moment when it all clicks for a student. The sentence structure is fundamentally different from English, and understanding how that works is an awesome revelation. It’s not an easy language, but it’s based on simple principles. Anyone can learn it.

Danke Emanuel! 

 

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