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.
Photos by our principal, Anja.
Louisa Reid, Kindergarten
Louisa’s first experiences with the German Saturday School were attending GSS as a student. In 2012, she returned as an assistant and later assumed a teaching position in 2014. During the week, she studies at Monash University, majoring in German as part of her Arts/Law degree. Saskia Tykocinski assists in the classroom.
Amra Polutak, Foundation
Amra is a former student of the GSS, who, at an early age, discovered her love for the German language. After successfully completing the German VCE, she continues to study German at tertiary level. She has been assisting at the GSS since 2015 in different classes and has also been helping us out last year by relief teaching when needed. Over the summer break, Amra was in Italy where she taught English. She is very much looking forward to sharing her passion for the German language and culture with the children. Her assistant in the classroom is Ann-Kristin Hawken, the mother of three GSS students.
Joseph Zielinski, Year 1 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. Sanda Naing is assisting with the Year 1 students.
Brigitte Lamont, Year 2 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 3
Tabea has a Master of Education 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”.
Year 4 is taught by Stephanie Iwanovicz with the assistance of Loretta Gasparini.
Julika Pursche, Year 5 Teacher
Born and raised in Hamburg, Germany, Julika moved to Melbourne together with her partner in 2016. In the same year she started to work at the GSS, assisting in different levels and currently teaches the Year 5 class. Julika enjoys being a part of the GSS community and sharing the German language and traditions with the children.
Lisa-Marie Schneehage, Year 6
Lisa-Marie was born in Germany and has spent about half her life in Australia, the other half in Germany, having moved more than eight times. She was a teacher at our school between 2014 and 2015, teaching Years 2-5, before moving (yet again!) to England, working as a teacher at a primary school in London. She has a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and has taught for two years at Hillcrest Christian College, Victoria, where she was a Prep to Year 6 German Teacher. Over the past two years, she’s gained experience in a variety of fields of teaching, such as Music, Art, P.E, R.E, Literacy, Science and Maths. Now she is back in Melbourne and enjoying being part of the GSS again!
Andreas Kammel teaches Year 7
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 is currently completing his Masters of Teaching and preparing for a mid life career change into the teaching profession.
Nikolaus Gerold, Years 8/9 Teacher
Nikolaus has just recently moved here from his native Munich to start his PhD studies in the school of Geography at the Melbourne University. He also holds a Master’s degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Ludwig-Maximilians- University, Munich. The study of languages has always been an integral part of Nikolaus’ life. While learning Albanian and Hindi, he equally enjoyed teaching German to Albanian and Indian students. He has also tutored English and German to German pupils in Munich.
He is now very much looking forward to his first year as a classroom teacher at the German Saturday School!
The Year 10/prep VCE Teacher is Ursula Wehrer.
Ursula moved to Melbourne in July 2015. She is a qualified teacher for Spanish, Economics and Ethics but also completed a professional development course at the Goethe Institut in order to teach German as a second language. Since April 2016 she has been working at the German Saturday School. At the beginning, she was teaching year 6 and 7. From April 2017 onward she has been teaching the VCE class. During the week, she works at Presbyterian Ladies College in Burwood, teaching all year levels in German.
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.