Hello colleagues! Attached to this email is a reflection (long overdue) I am constantly thinking about all of you! I hope all is well in Deutschland Best, Aaron.
Dear Staff, and Students at Wilhelm-Knapp Schule.
I apologize for how long it has taken me to write to you; however, my Kanadian schedule has been very full!
After leaving Germany/Ireland, and returning to Canada for the summer months I was employed at a beautiful golf course, in Victoria, on Vancouver Island. In the fall months I took 7 university courses, and now I am currently finishing my final practicum, at Oak Bay Secondary school. I am teaching Physical Education (sport) and English for students in grades 9-12.
My experience in Germany, and Dublin changed my life, not only as a teacher, but as a young man. I want first thank headmaster Dr. Reitz for her willingness to be open towards the idea of a Canadian university student teaching in her school. I will always speak highly about WKS, the school atmosphere will forever standout in my memory. I praise your entire staff; especially, Carola, Silvia, Patricia, and Henrik. I know I will be forgetting some colleagues- but I want to thank the PE (Sport) department for letting me introduce Fukahara, and be involved as much as possible for the two weeks I was there. The fact that I had the ability to communicate with so many teachers who were so welcoming created an experience that was nearly stress-free. Additionally, my German speaking proficiency and comprehension improved significantly!
On January 2nd, 2017- I began my final “teaching practicum” and felt excited, confident, and prepared as I walked in the doors to my new school that morning. My excitement towards teaching stems from the many encounters I had with students at WKS, and with the 53 students who came to Dublin. I was nervous coming to Germany; specifically regarding my ability to teach English. However, the students at WKS were eager learners, and made my teaching experience priceless. I will never throw away the responses (exit slips) students formulated, or exams they wrote for me. I am sincerely grateful for their participation and keenness to learn; moreover, I hope that any student who I taught will contact me, if they ever come to visit in Canada.
I am a confident teacher because I was affirmed by staff and students at WKS that this was the profession that suits me. Affirmation is a powerful tool that we as teachers can use to constantly reward our students strengths and weaknesses. Also, I have inherited confidence because of the experiences I had while abroad for 5 weeks, last May.
Learning to prepare for this “adult” life is a challenge. I have come to realize there really are no shortcuts. However, I have made my life everything I want it to be (right now). It is important that I explain to you how frequently I share my Deutschland experience with friends, family, or new colleagues. Choosing to come to Germany allowed me to meet family I hadn’t before, to learn about my Witzke background; therefore, allowing me to become closer specifically, with my grandparents who migrated to Canada as young adults.
I will always encourage the future students I teach to take part in traveling aboard opportunities because of the experience I had as a young man. Simply put, I was young and able to travel. I didn’t worry about the money, or cost associated- my family and I just made it work. Additionally, I know with certainty that the experience I had overseas was more valuable than any amount of money would ever be. The adventure of coming to Germany allowed me to understand where I truly belong: in the classroom, or gymnasium- teaching, educating, and continually learning.
All my love,
Aaron Kurt Witzke.