Posted in Reflection

From language teacher to language student – Week 4 at GLS Berlin


We were introduced to our fourth teacher this week and she is lovely. I’ve been truly blessed with having four great teachers during this course. They are all very professional, approachable, patient and competent; the things I really need from a teacher as a language learner. 

We also had a new student enter the ranks so it’s nice having someone to bounce ideas off. 

We did a lot of production today so I was absolutely knackered by the end of it. 

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From language teacher to language student – Week 3 at GLS Berlin


We revised the content we studied last week, but with a bit more focus on speaking and writing, and emergent language that came out of those practices. This kind of practice is very important as we get to recycle what we could recall and then analyse what language is not coming through automatically. It’s good that I recognise that language (a syllable here and there), and hopefully with further exposure and practice it’ll get that automaticity I desperately want. 

The Akkusativ case is becoming much clearer with repeated viewings and practice, which gives me a sense of relief, and my teachers have told me that it is a case I’ll be using a lot more than say the Genitive case. We will be looking at this case in more detail this week so I’m looking forward to getting to grips with it more. 

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Review of 2016

I started to find my grove in 2016. I think things started to click for me in the summer when I had two great groups of young learners from Italy and was also given the responsibility of managing the FCE class at Kaplan.

For the first few months of 2016, though, things were relatively quiet. Being a new teacher around this time of the year doesn’t augur well in terms of receiving a stable income. Students are on Christmas break to escape the Irish cold and senior teachers are assigned to most classes, leaving me to scratch and claw to secure work. There were moments when I was on the verge of giving up and finding something else to do, but I hung in there, and I am glad that I did.

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From language teacher to language student – Week 2 at GLS Berlin

You can check out how I got on in my first week here.


For the first day of the week, we covered vocabulary for the topic of important buildings and institutions you would commonly find in a city. I feel the needle is slowly turning now in terms of how difficult the content is to comprehend, which is great as I am liking the challenge, even if it is early on a Monday morning (8 am, one hour difference between Berlin and Dublin). 

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From language teacher to language student – WeeK 1 in GLS Berlin

I was placed into an advanced beginner class based on my following results from my placement test:

  • Speaking = A1
  • Listening = A1
  • Reading = A2
  • Writing = A2
  • Vocabulary = A2
  • Grammar = A2

I was quite happy being in this class as being in a pre-intermediate class, I believe, would have been difficult for me, and I couldn’t envisage myself getting much out of it. I wanted to hone my speaking and listening skills, so I was happy to do the basics from the ground up. 

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From language teacher to language student – Taking the GLS placement test

As with every language course you enroll in, you need to complete a placement test in order for the school to understand where you are with your language abilities and knowledge, and to place you into the right class. Having administered placement tests now and again at Kaplan, but more extensively at The English Studio, I had a fair idea of what to expect for my own placement test with the German Language School (GLS) in Berlin. 

Correcting placement tests at The English Studio

Once I paid for my course, I received a link for the test which needed to be completed online. My results would then be analysed by the teachers on their end. The test was broken up into three main areas: a self-assessment survey, a test for reading, listening, vocabulary and grammar, and separate one-to-one interview via Zoom for the speaking test. 

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Review of 2015

My teaching journey set sail in 2015.

I was wrapping up my degree in English Literature and History, as I needed this to get accepted onto an MA programme in post-primary education, at a time where I was at a crossroads work-wise. I had been working in retail for most of my working life and had found it to be too comfortable to escape from. My girlfriend suggested that if I were planning on getting into secondary school teaching, it might be ideal to try out English language teaching to test the waters. 

I enrolled on a CELTA course soon after and passed, thankfully, and was hired by the same training school, Kaplan, right off the bat. I took a quick trip to Rome before I started my new job in July. 

I had some ups and some serious downs during this formative year and this is what I can recall. I guess the following has had some sort of impact on my current teaching or has moulded me in some way. 

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From language teacher to language learner (versuchen, Deutsch zu lernen)

I’ve always wanted to learn a language. 

And, it pains me to say to my students, with them often being gobsmacked, that I can only speak English. So, not wanting to be jealous of my students’ abilities any longer, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I had been studying on and off with Spanish for some time, but I wanted to delve into something fresh. Enter German, oder sollte ich sagen, Deutsch. 

I feel as if I have a good idea of what it takes to ‘acquire’ a language and that’s why I have decided to write this series of posts to see if my beliefs and research turn out that way. 

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that when it comes to me and learning languages, I am like a fish out of water. However, during the pandemic era and having all that free time during lockdown, I gave it a real go this time and I have managed to keep going. I guess the trick to diving into a new language and staying committed to it is to have a solid foundation of resources (when you get tired of one you have others to fall back on), routine, realistic and achievable goals, and strong motivations.

I made sure my resources aligned to some of my beliefs in language acquisition which are outlined below:

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