High School German Instructor


Shelley Lumpkin

Education and qualifications

  • I graduated from Arkansas State University with a BSE in Social Studies.  At that time, German was not an available major or minor.  I took every German class available on campus, so I am certified in middle and secondary level social studies and secondary level German language.

Describe a typical day on your job.

  • My day begins with a zero hour AP/IB Psychology class followed by 2 sections of German 2, 1 section of German 3, and 2 sections of German 1.  This is the first year for German ab initio (an International Baccalaureate course), so those IB students are mixed into my regular German classes.
  • As a high school teacher, my job goes beyond what I learned in my language courses at the university.  On any given day I might be:
    • Teaching a grammar lesson.
    • Talking about the culture of a German-speaking country.
    • Working with students on a communicative task.
    • Practicing listening skill in the target language.
    • Grading papers.
    • Playing a game to support a lesson already learned (hopefully).
    • Having a German club meeting.
    • Counseling students about their grades and what they can do to boost them (turn in work J).
  • I might also be:
    • Counseling students about problems they may be having in their everyday lives.
    • Meeting with Special Education teachers about students who have IEPs.
    • Helping students who need glasses, shoes, groceries, etc. but can’t afford them- getting them in touch with organizations that can help.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of your job?


    • 1 on 1 with teenagers. Yes, this is an advantage–today’s teens have interesting perspectives on the world.  They are young enough to dream, but old enough to take care of business.  Responsible enough to be independent.
    • The hours.  I get to school at 7:45, teach until 1:40, leave school at 3:05.  I also have nearly 3 months off in the summer.
    • The pay.  I get a great salary for 9 ½ months work- and I also get paid during the summer.  My salary is spread over 12 months.
    • Insurance (health, vision, and dental), sick leave, time off- all great benefits.
    • I am essentially my own boss, as long as the school’s rules are obeyed.  My classroom is my own little world.  I’m the manager.


  • The stress.  Being in charge of 150 teenagers can be stressful.  You have to set boundaries and be consistent.
  • As with any job, office politics can be a bit distracting.
  • Grading papers.

Do you have any advice for someone who would like to enter your field?

  • Student teach/intern in education.  Non-traditional licensure is available, but I don’t recommend it.  Many of the non-traditional teachers really struggle with classroom management, grading, creating lessons and just knowing what to do in a classroom.
  • Listen to what your mentor has to say.  They have experienced everything you are going through and can help you deal with situations that may arise.