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Students discover passport to opportunity in NEISD World Languages classes

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изучение языков
At a time when international travel seems completely out of reach, that’s not the case for students in North East ISD who get to immerse themselves in new culture and language every day.

“The kids call me Frau Bishop. Here, we start speaking German on day one,” Katja Bishop said.

Bishop is a World Languages Teacher at Reagan High School teaching Levels 1-4 and AP German classes.

This is her first year in North East ISD.

Born and raised in Dresden, Germany, she has traveled the world, living and working in places like China and France.

“It is important for me to share my culture. It’s really important for me to show my kids that German culture is more than sauerkraut, Oktoberfest, or schnitzel. I want to share the diversity and the many languages that we have. We also have a huge cultural scene,” Bishop explained.

Growing up learning five languages herself, Bishop said that she can relate and wants students to feel comfortable in her class.

She encourages students to try and reminds them that it’s normal to make mistakes.

“I tell them, we are going to make mistakes but that’s okay. Don’t be embarrassed, we all have to start somewhere,” Bishop said.

As a native German speaker, she also reminds students that she speaks a foreign language every day, too.

“It’s important to experience success in the classroom. I always make it my goal to provide engaging activity for the kids,” Bishop added.

One of the popular Level One class activities is Bingo where she is surprised to see how excited students get to win something as simple as a sticker.

“They don’t even know that they are learning! That’s when I know that I’ve succeeded,” Bishop added.

With half of her students learning from home, she also utilizes a ‘swivel cam’ that follows her around the room.

This gives virtual learners a chance to have the full classroom experience.

She hopes students take away something positive from her courses.

“Someday they will travel; they will work for a company. Maybe at some point, from this German class they will remember it when they think back. Maybe they will think, ‘I remember that; Frau Bishop taught me that!’”

One of Bishop’s students is 16-year-old Faris Shadouh.

The Reagan Sophomore is from Jordan and already speaks three languages.

“Turkish, English, Arabic, and I’m trying to learn German now,” Shadouh said.

German is known for having very lengthy compound words that can often times be intimidating to people.

For example, the word ‘siebenhundertsiebenundsiebzigtausendsiebenhundertsiebenundsiebzig’ translates to the number 777,777.

Bishop said once people start to see how to decipher the words, they realize it’s not so impossible to learn.

In fact, she said many people already know it!

“My strategy for teaching my Level One students is, I start out teaching them words they already know. I say, ‘You already know German! Kindergarten, Tennis, Volleyball, Sport, Hamster,’” she explained.

And, with work-study opportunities and even global career prospects, learning another language certainly gives students an advantage and helps propel them to wherever they want to go.

17-year-old Michael Brandow already knows a few beginner phrases.

“Ich kommen aus San Antonio’ (I’m from San Antonio), the Reagan junior said.

Bishop said she is proud to see how quickly students break out of their shells and get excited to learn.

“I feel like all the things I have done in my life has led me here. I just want to show them how much more there is out there and to discover!”

To learn more about The World Languages Department in North East ISD, click here:

Discover #theNEISDway!

Ashley Speller
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