All of our teachers are either native speakers of German or have a native-like proficiency in German and are highly qualified and experienced in the field of teaching German language. They regularly attend professional development conferences and networking events by the Association of German Teachers in Victoria, the Goethe-Institut Melbourne, the Modern Language Teachers’ Association of Victoria, the Ethnic Schools Association of Victoria and others.
Most photos by our principal, Anja.

Marlene Franke, Year 10/Prep-VCE

Marlene is a German native from the small city of Minden who moved to Australia in 2018. She completed a Masters in Trans-Cultural Studies in Bremen during which she used the opportunity to live in Mexico and Latvia. Throughout her studies and work she focused, among other things, on foreign language education and autonomous language learning. Additionally, Marlene has long-term experience as a private language tutor and undertook further teaching development with the Goethe Institute. She is excited to be a part of the GSS community.

Sophie Tautenhahn, Year 7

Sophie was born and raised in Zwickau, Germany, and holds a Bachelor of Languages and Business Administration. Sophie speaks German, English, French, Spanish and is currently testing herself by learning Arabic. Sophie moved to Melbourne in 2014 and started with the German Saturday School first as an assistant in 2018 before becoming a teacher the same year. Being multilingual allows her to fully understand and help overcome the challenges her own students face.

Sophie is very passionate about teaching and believes that the best part is getting the opportunity to touch the lives of students and contribute to making their future one that is bright and productive.

Joseph Zielinski, Year 2 Teacher

Joseph, who was born to a German father and Uruguayan mother, has played many roles at the GSS: student, Christmas carols accompanist, Sankt Nikolaus impersonator, and assistant in Year 3. This year, he teaches the Year 1 class.

Apart from his love for the German language, Joseph is very passionate about music, playing the piano and being part of the Choir at the University of Melbourne. He wants to combine his love for music and teaching, aiming to become a music teacher for disabled children.

Brigitte Lamont, Year 1 Teacher

Brigitte is one of our longest-serving teachers, having taught Years 1, 2 and 3. Born and raised in Osnabrück, Germany, Brigitte moved to Melbourne more than 30 years ago. She has been involved with the German Saturday School for over 20 years, first as an assistant and then as a teacher. Both her children attended the German Saturday School.

She likes to give children the opportunity to explore hands-on new horizons, loves to read books or sing songs with them and talk to them in German.

Tabea Kraska-Eleftheria teaches Year 4

Tabea has a Master of Education degree from the University of Education Freiburg (Breisgau, Germany) and has taught at Primary and Secondary Schools in Germany with her favourite subjects being German, Arts and Music. Besides teaching she travelled around the world being a youth leader, coach and a flight attendant. She loves to inspire and encourage the kids at school to envision their (professional) future and to “dream big” of how they can use the German language later in life.

“I try to motivate them to learn as best as they can and think “why am I learning German? By envisioning themselves one day speaking and experiencing German culture, they will open doors exposing them to a new and rich culture. Therefore, they are more likely to learn with enthusiasm and joy”.

Andreas Kammel teaches Year 8

Andreas has been associated with the German Saturday School as a parent for six years and teaching at the GSS since 2016. He is a native speaker of German and came to Australia in 1983 from his hometown of Holzminden in Lower Saxony. He completed his Masters of Teaching in 2018 and is now a casual relief teacher at Bialik Collge.

Barbara Uecker, Kindergarten

“Hello members of the German Saturday School. I’m thrilled to be part of the team here at the German School!”

Barbara is originally from Germany and moved to Sydney in 2008 and Melbourne in 2015. She loves languages, cooking, walking her neighbour’s dog, singing, dancing and children. 

Her teaching career started when she joined one of the private schools here in Melbourne as a language assistant. She loves working with the students! Now she is looking forward to passing her passion for the German language on to the Kindergarten group here at the German Saturday School.

Year 6 teacher Kirsten Joers

Kirsten Joers started working for the GSS in 2017. Kirsten grew up near Hamburg in the north of Germany and moved to Melbourne in 2016. Kirsten discovered her passion for teaching German alongside her formal career in accounting. Working for international companies in Hamburg and now in Melbourne where she lives permanently, Kirsten’s professional background in multinational companies and interest in intercultural competencies within organisations compliments her skill for teaching German. This mix of interests has naturally lead to teaching professional German and German business etiquette privately and also professionally through Berlitz Australia. The combination of teaching experience and working as an Au Pair in the Litchfield National Park – Northern Territory (2010-2011) has provided the cultural insight and unique understanding for her to work with Year 5 and 6 at the GSS which she enjoys very much. Kirsten also works with Year 11 and 12 at the McKinnon Secondary College as a language assistant, which she finds very engaging, especially in translating contemporary topics of interest with young adults.

Liz Wagenknecht teaches Year 9

Liz was born and raised in Bavaria, but she has found a home in Melbourne in 2008. Liz is fascinated by languages and teaching has always been an integral part of her professional life.

Language means freedom, expression, independence, conversation, self-reliance and connection for her. Liz is happy to be teaching Year 9 at the German Saturday School. “It is such a pleasure to continually help the students improve their German skills.” She works as a language teacher and offers private language lessons.

Liz is also passionate about babywearing.

Moritz teaches Year 5.

Moritz Mückenberger joined the GSS in February 2019 after retiring from full time work as a social worker and policy advisor in Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

He was born and raised in Berlin, a city he still loves and visits regularly. Teaching at the GSS enables Moritz to share his passion for the German language, culture and history. He firmly believes that knowing and experiencing different cultures and languages promotes a more open-minded and inclusive approach to life.

His children attend the GSS.

The Foundation teacher is Ann-Kristin Hawken.

Year 3 is taught by Stephanie Iwanovicz with the assistance of Gösta John.

Thi-Minh Tran is the assistant in Tabea’s Year 4 class.

Jeremy Wong, Adult Classes Teacher

Although not exactly of German background, Jeremy quickly fell in love with the German language after starting to learn it in high school, later doing a six-month university exchange in Berlin. He has taught German both as a private tutor and as a classroom teacher in various schools around Melbourne, including McKinnon Secondary College, Viewbank College and, more recently, Presbyterian Ladies College. Jeremy has been to Germany three times and twice to Austria, which is his favourite country outside Australia.

For the adult classes, Jeremy uses a systematic and structured method which focuses primarily on listening and speaking. The strategy is designed to build confidence in understanding the grammar of German as a firm foundation for becoming fluent much quickly in the language.