German exchange teacher provides valuable lessons for Douglas High School students

Douglas High School students that are taking German are finding themselves at an advantage with their new teacher, Maike Bielemeyer.

BOX ELDER, S.D. — Douglas High School students that are taking German are finding themselves at an advantage.

Douglas German 5When walking down the halls of the high school, all the way to Elke Kuegle’s German class, you’ll find Maike Bielemeyer, a student teacher from Germany, who also happens to be living her dream.

“It’s so much fun. They laugh and they have stories to tell. I really love working with kids,” Bielemeyer said.

Bielemeyer is taking part of a program that brings 15 German teachers to schools around the U.S. In Mrs. Kuegle’s class specifically, this is the fourth teacher assistant in the last six years that’s helped.

But, as Bielemeyer walks from desk to desk, teaching her native language, she’s doing what she loves and doing it in a place that she’s grown to love.

“Honestly, before I came here, I was like ‘What is South Dakota, where is it? I’ve never heard of it, but as soon as I got here, I really started liking it,” she said.

Roughly 90 students are taking the German classes, with all ranges of difficulty.

Bielemeyer says that correcting the students mistakes is one thing, but doing it in another language is different.

“For me, it’s normal stuff, you know? I hear when something is wrong, but I never studied German and when I came here, I really had to start thinking about ‘how do I explain it in German?’ I know that it’s wrong but how do I explain it?” she said.

With just a few months left to go before the school year ends, many are saying that the teacher has left her mark.

“They really are embracing that, and I think they really enjoy having another teacher in the classroom,” Kuegle said. “You know, they’re an extra set of eyes and ears, and we can rotate so much more around the classroom and help the students about.”

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