About the Teacher
Letter of Introduction by Sally Simon
The youngest of three daughters, I spent my high school years with my mother in Grand Junction Colorado and my vacations with my father, a vascular surgeon, in Reno. I was an active child, who enjoyed outdoor activities, such as hiking in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and fishing in the Truckee River. During my youth I was an avid gymnast and excelled at the sport. I loved modern dance and was in awe of Olga Korbut, the Russian gymnast. In high school I was a member of the gymnastic team, cheerleading squad and German club.
Frau Warner, my high school German teacher, provided my first spark of intellectual inspiration. It was in her class that I first had to read a poem aloud and chose Mailied by Goethe. She guided the very first trip I would take to Germany with a group of her German students. To this day, she is not aware of the direction she gave to my future and how she influenced my life in such a positive way. Today, as a German teacher myself, I realize that is exactly what teaching is all about, about touching lives.
Inexorably drawn to things German, I took my junior year in college abroad as an exchange student in Regensburg Germany, where I experienced the German culture and mentality first-hand as it was at the time; viewed America form a German perspective; experienced how difficult it can be to express a thought and convey a message in a foreign language; learned to respect the cultural differences and to appreciate how the differences among cultures can lead to communication difficulties. Obviously, this expanded my mind and gave focus to my professional goals. Ten years later, the same overwhelming desire to expand my experience in the German speaking realm resulted in a second stay abroad, this time in Graz Austria. A generous Austrian government grant allowed me to do so as a guest researcher at the University of Graz. During that year, I attended several university seminars on the teaching of German as a second language.
Currently I have over 21 years in teaching experiencing and over 90 university credit hours invested state side and abroad in becoming proficient and knowledgeable in my discipline. Abundant time abroad in the German-speaking countries has broadened my experiences, clarified my direction and greatly enhanced my effectiveness in teaching the language.
I am fortunate to have found an occupation that offers me such an abundant opportunity for growth and fulfillment. I continually seek opportunities to actualize my potential in the field of teaching German. I’m best described by students and colleagues as energetic and enthusiastic.
Finally, I am each day grateful for health and well-being. I train with weights and practice Yoga because I believe that physical fitness contributes greatly to mental fitness, thus helping me maintain balance and perspective regarding life’s circumstances. I especially enjoy early morning coffee, people, and evening strolls with my son, Hylan.
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