English teacher (American) with more than twenty years experience teaching English in Berlin
Editor and translator (German-English)
When I tell people here in Berlin that I had lived in California for about seventeen years before coming to live in this fair city they always look at me with surprise, asking, “Don’t you miss California?” Well, to be honest I’ve had my California dream and my Berlin dream has not only gone on a lot longer (twenty four years) but it’s a lot more fascinating.
I came to Berlin to be with my partner (Lebensgefährtin). We met in California in 1985 and after a few years of back and forth I made the final move in December 1988. It took about a year for me to feel at home in Berlin, but after living through the Fall of the Wall, the excitement and consequences connected with that historical event, I got the “Ich bin ein Berliner” feeling. As an American, I’ve got an accepted part in the life of the city, and yet I’m an outsider, so I can maintain a certain distance. I can be the “cool” outsider.
Being an English teacher, translator, and editor gives me the opportunity to meet and communicate with a wide variety of people, people from all walks of life. I started teaching in small private schools and the Volkshochschulen, then entered the world of the Fachhochschulen and universities, and then moved on to teaching at different firms. I give private lessons, providing coaching in the task of making presentations, working with English speaking colleagues, getting the language in shape for holiday trips, and I support students in getting through the TOEFL exam. Furthermore, in my role as teacher, translator, and editor, I assist my clients in finding the right manner and language in communicating with native speakers of English, what’s called intercultural communication.
For me, the main focus is communication. I value what it means to communicate, the worthwhile process of finding a meeting ground with people who have a different view of the world than I do, the joy of feeling this special connectedness in the specific context of teaching English. Communicating with beginners is just as rewarding as communicating with advanced speakers. That’s my job, communicating -- all that this word implies in both speaking and writing.