Reception teacher at Josef-Schwarz-Schule: ‘Singing is in my blood’

Thembela Vischer comes from South Africa and is a reception teacher at Josef-Schwarz-Schule


What do you do at Phorms?

I teach the Crocodiles, a reception class at Josef-Schwarz-Schule. We are a group of two teachers – I teach in English, my colleague in German – and 20 children, who are five years old at the start of the school year. The reception level at Josef-Schwarz-Schule is a preparatory course for year 1. It helps prepare children for their upcoming school education and to get used to its rhythm and routine. Our classes focus on language exercises, manual dexterity, mathematics concepts and the development of numeracy and creativity. Some of the children at reception level are also learning and hearing English for the first time.

How did you come to be a teacher?

I am originally from South Africa, where I studied teaching. My Higher Diploma in Junior Primary Education took four years, and it was very hands-on in terms of practical teaching experience. I actually wanted to be a lawyer and applied for a law course, but I didn’t get in immediately and had to spend two years on the waiting list of the university. After one year I started to feel a bit hemmed in, and my mother encouraged me to consider teacher training, as the university was taking applicants in that field. And it turned out to be the best decision of my life! I love teaching and being a teacher. From the start, I chose to specialise in the primary and nursery levels; children are incredibly genuine and natural at that age.

What did you do before you joined Phorms?

After my studies in South Africa, I spent three years teaching year 3 students before taking a job in educational marketing. In the marketing job, we designed advertising campaigns aimed at children – to remind them to brush their teeth, for instance, or have breakfast every day. At this time I completed a part-time university course on Design and Technology in the Classroom. In Germany, before I taught Business English in a language school, I participated in and achieved a certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) at Hamburg School of English. Thereafter I assisted academics with their English at various companies before joining Josef-Schwarz-Schule in 2014.

Are there particular teaching concepts that you use in your everyday teaching?

We love singing and dancing in South Africa. Singing is in my blood, and I love teaching the kids English in a playful and intuitive way. These exercises also help the children with their coordination. In South Africa, we also frequently use beads in the classroom; I've adopted this method to teach my pre-school class to recognise and create certain patterns, for example, and learn colours. Threading and sorting the pearls also improves the children’s motor skills.

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