where the writers are
A Letter to a Former German Teacher (touching upon a very small portion of the language learning process)

Sehr geehrte Frau M. Barkey,

I’m writing to you because I want to make sure you know that you never actually taught any German in that class about twenty years ago. All you did was tell us to read the book and cram vocabulary words. You happily handed out bad grades and scoffed off comments that we didn’t cover the material in class. Then you told us more unbelievable stories about how your last students tried to throw you out the window or how the Latino parents of fraternal twins were so ignorant that they named them “Malleh” and “Femalleh” (you thought it was so funny that they just copied the gender into the name field).

As a matter of fact, I don’t even think you were ever even able to speak German - if it said “Männlich/Weiblich” on an official document, would you know its not a proper name? I’m sure that if today, I were to find your house and ring your doorbell... (and I did just find it on an online map) and start speaking to you in German, you’d slam the door in my face. You’d be so embarrassed that you can’t actually say a word in that tongue you once feigned teaching, that you’d keel over in fear that I’d sue for my A’s.

No it wasn’t you who taught me German. Not a lick. So when you find out how fluent my German is, please don’t pat yourself on the back. Don’t congratulate yourself for being such a great teacher. You’re the one who made me nearly give up and run away, screaming, “Scheisse!”

Mit Freundlichen Grüßen,
Allan Dorr