Student teacher in Germany

by Chad Fey – The in Newton, KS, USA

The trip home from his spring semester was a long one for Newton’s Jeff Arellano, who graduated from Wichita State University this spring. His trip involved flying across the Atlantic Ocean after student teaching in Germany.

“I learned a lot,” Arellano said. “It opened my eyes to the different range of students and different lifestyles of students.”

Arellano chose to spend a semester of student teaching abroad, getting experience in both the elementary and high school settings during the week and traveling through Europe on the weekends.

It was a learning experience he would do all over again, he said.

“I didn’t know anything about Germany when I went,” Arellano said. “I knew absolutely no German. I feel like I adjusted well.”

Arellano, a 2001 Newton High School graduate, is looking for a job teaching physical education – he said he would prefer teaching at the high school level.

While in Neubruecke, German, he had the opportunity to explore teaching elementary school students – and other subjects.

“At that school physical education teachers teach other classes as well,” Arellano said. “They also taught art and music. I got a taste of teaching about everything.”

Arellano taught at the high school level at Baunholder High School, which is on an American military base.

Students there spoke some English, but there were a board range of nationalities and ethnic groups at the school, Arellano said.

“Students come in and out of the school,” Arellano said. “That was hard. The last week I was there a student came in that was in his fifth school.”

He noted that most of the teachers at the school were women.

“I was the only male teacher some students had ever had,” Arellano said.

Arellano learned of the program last year, and decided to pursue an opportunity to travel while finishing his education degree.

He chose to not spend his weekends close to where he was staying Germany, choosing to travel throughout Europe – seeing Rome, Paris, Greece and London.

“It was exciting to see all the history you learn about but never thought you’d have the opportunity to see,” Arellano said.

And in addition, he saw a different lifestyle he plans to incorporate into his classes as a physical education teacher.

He said people in Europe are more active than people in the U.S.

“A lot of people depend on public transportation rather than automobiles,” Arellano said. “That’s a way of life. The meals are smaller, and people are walking more. I saw a lot of physical activity.”