My great-grandparents, my grandparents, and both of my parents are from Germany. German has been an important part of my life since I was young, but I have never felt more connected with my heritage until I meet Frau Schueth, my German teacher, in my freshman year at Arrowhead High School.
I was an eager freshman walking into her class on the first day of school. I remember her kind smile and warm welcome. I have had her for all of my semesters throughout my high school career and I am very thankful. In her classroom, students don’t realize they’re learning because the lessons are always fun. Sometimes the class is like a game of charades because she likes to act out what the words mean instead of saying them in English. She demonstrated to me that I can learn and work hard but still have fun with what I’m doing.
Frau Schueth is not only a passionate teacher, but she also cares about her students outside of the classroom—that is what makes her special. I have been with her on trips to Chicago, and those were trips that I will forever remember as some of my best times in high school. On the trips we would go to the Kris Kringle Market in Chicago, and there we could find ethnic foods and presents from Germany. I bought some gifts to give to my family for Christmas and I had joy seeing their faces when they opened their presents. We also went to the Goethe Institut and talked to people who had connections in Germany and all over the world. It showed me that there are a plethora amount of opportunities and occupations I could have with my knowledge of German.
Frau Schueth’s daughter ran cross country and track with me so she would be at the meets. During races, not only would she cheer her daughter on, but she would also cheer for me and her other students. At the end of the race she would come up to me and congratulate me, which meant a lot. Running a 3.1 mile race is a difficult challenge, and there were multiple times where I could have just given up. However, when I would hear people cheer me on, a spark inside of me would light up and push me to keep running hard.
Over the years, my German has progressed and I am able to speak with my Opa in German. We now have a connection that we didn’t have before. From Frau Schueth, I have learned so much about the culture that I am proud of my heritage and who I am.
Her teaching style is visual and conversational. She isn’t harsh on her students, but generous and helpful. We have a range of students in our class and she cares for each one of them. Frau Schueth is like a mother figure to us because she has known all of us for so long and knows when we’re feeling sick or something isn’t right.
I am dreading leaving her on the last day of school because our class has become so family-like, but because I had Frau Schueth I am excited to pursue German in college. I couldn’t think of any other teacher more suitable for educator of the year, she is my favorite teacher and always will be.