Published on Wednesday, December 1, 2010 by John Fuller
Andere Länder, andere Sitten. When in Rome, do as the Romans, or literally, Other countries, other customs.
As the head of the Languages Other Than English (LOTE) department and a fluent speaker of Italian, German, French and English, German teacher Jan Krammer embodies this classic proverb as she teaches students about the values of studying other languages and cultures.
After studying French in college and obtaining her master’s degree in German, Krammer began teaching at Bryan High in 1996.
“It’s never boring around here. There’s always something going on,” Krammer said. “My colleagues are wonderful. I work with really nice people.”
Krammer has also spent an extensive amount of time studying and practicing each of the languages she speaks, as she and her husband have traveled and lived in Europe several times.
“[My husband and I] decided at one point to spend a year in Germany, as he was going to teach in a university there,” Krammer said. “So, I decided I would take advantage of the opportunity and I started taking some classes there and continued to pursue it when we got back.”
Ten years after originally moving to Germany, the Krammers returned for another year abroad and Krammer taught English and French in a German high school.
Learning foreign languages, Krammer said, is important for each high school student.
“In learning about culture as well as language, you really gain some insight into the world and you really become a citizen of the world,” Krammer said. “You can understand other people a little bit. It makes you aware that the world is bigger than Bryan, Texas or Brazos County.”
As the only teacher for each of the four levels of German, Krammer has already made a lasting impact on her students.
“Frau makes it fun to be in the class,” sophomore Allison Wilder said. “Instead of just forcing the stuff on you, she comes up with fun things to play and she uses the computers, which are really fun.”
Each year, Krammer also takes several students on a trip to Europe to visit and practice the languages they are taught in class and to be exposed to different lifestyles.
“It’s not just a tourist trip. It’s really a way for us to be exposed to the different cultures from Germany, Austria, and France and to learn more about the history of each,” senior Mary-Clare Wise said.
After last year’s trip, Wise said that she is more motivated to not only study German, but pursue all of her studies with more vigor because she wants to study abroad in the future.
“It’s so cool that she was able to develop her language skills to be so adept at using it,” Wise said. “That just inspires me to be like that with my German. It’s also made me serious about my schoolwork because I want to go back there.”
Other teachers on campus, like French teacher Tara Bailey, have noticed the dedication that Krammer has for her job and students.
“She cares a lot about her students,” Bailey said. “She takes a lot of time to create cool activities that are fun and exciting rather than the boring notes and lectures. She tries to make things interesting.”
While Krammer enjoys the learning of foreign languages, she also loves being able to teach these languages to students.
“Seeing how those kids change and how they grow and develop is very very rewarding,” Krammer said.