Teaching... in German!

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The semester is two weeks old here (while all my American colleagues are reporting that their school year is drawing to a close... enjoy, you non-expats). Thus I am two weeks into teaching courses in German for the first time -- I gave one lecture in German in the winter semester but my other courses wound up being in English then. It's been interesting. The teaching is 4 consecutive hours (with breaks), which is perhaps not ideal. I find that I am better in the 2nd and 3rd hour than the 1st and 4th. Although to be honest I suspect that that's only my internal feeling of how many mistakes I am making... like when I'm warmed up, I delusionally think the mistakes are fewer! Anyway the words seem to come with less effort then. Perhaps philosophy is a uniquely annoying/frustrating thing to try to do in a foreign language because so much of it is about precision of language. In English, I suppose I am effortlessly choosing from a wide range of ways to say what I want to say. In German, I'm usually just saying it in the way that comes most easily to me in terms of grammar and vocabulary. Overall though it is a fun challenge, but tiring.

Oh, I am also glad to report that one of these classes, which is on philosophy in the Islamic world, has something like 40 people turning up to it! It's a great experience to teach something to a big group of students, when you are really excited about the material... in any language.

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