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Fireside chat with Susan Elder

A fireside chat one week before winter holidays with a snuggly crackling chimney projected at the wall. Susan Elder from Bay City, Michigan offers this opportunity to our two thirteenth classes including the English teachers Mr Krug, Mr Jacobshagen, Mr Göppner and Dr Streit.

This gives us all the opportunity to not only get to know her as the open-minded and devoted pedagogue she is; this visitor from Ansbach’s partner city with German ancestors also helps us to get to know the US-culture a bit more closely than is typical during our regular school lessons.

What inspires students at her Bay City Central High School to study German? Communication during online games such as Halo, chats on “social” media and – Rammstein songs, Ms Elder tells us. She slightly envies Ansbach FosBos for our CO2 controls and the obligatory masks, which would also make her feel safer in her own classroom.

The wide range of Bavarian subjects, to her, is also highly commendable, whereas she prefers the less selective, rather “Gesamtschule”-style of US-education instead of students being put into boxes labelled Gymnasium, FosBos, etc. Interesting similarities between her own students range from dressing style to reading habits, as her students discuss the same novel as our English Book Club, The Hate U Give.

During her one-week-stay she has been enjoying German cakes and bread, which receive her highest praise. Given the time of year, of course also her family’s holiday practices play a role: Even her late-teen-children get their socks filled with presents.

Finally, our students listen attentively when she refers to exchange students at her school, even under the current Corona restrictions, and the view of extending this program in the future. Before she leaves to get a Covid-test for her return flight, we all cordially thank her for this first-hand insight into US-culture and wish her a safe trip home.

Dr. Streit (Head of English Department)

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