• Germany edition
Hundreds of great job opportunities for foreign professionals at Germany's top employers - in cooperation with Monster, Experteer, Stepstone, and CareerBuilder.
jobs available
Find English-speaking professionals with The Local.
Advertise a vacancy
My German Career
'Language doesn't matter - kids are all the same'
Photo: Chelsey Funk

'Language doesn't matter - kids are all the same'

Published: 10 Jan 2013 16:05 CET

After moving to Hannover in 2006 to work as an au pair, the 25-year-old Kansas native Funk decided to stay in Germany. With the country rapidly expanding day-care facilities, she recently parlayed her experience with kids into a job at a Kita, or creche.

What brought you to Germany?

I'd been working with kids since I was a teenager and at 19 I thought living with a family abroad would be an easy experience and give me the opportunity for a great time. It was great but also opened my mind to the world of children.

Nearly seven years later and you're still here – what do you do now?

In September I got a job as an English-language kindergarten teacher for three to six-year-olds in the Fröbel Kita at the Babelsberg film park in Potsdam (Which is one of Germany's largest movie production studios - Eds.) I start work at nine and tend to finish around half four but I do have over an hour's commute from where I live in Berlin in a flat I share with friends.

Sounds like a glamorous Kita, do you look after film stars' children?

Not that I know of! It's mostly people from the town of Potsdam and people who work at the studios, which could be a few actors but as far as I know Till Schweiger doesn't have kids in my class or anything.

How did you manage to get the job? Was speaking German a prerequisite?

A teacher friend raved about how good the company was so I applied for a job. I don't have a college degree which has made it difficult to get a job sometimes, but I have years of experience of working with kids - I've done 30 English language camps with the Berlitz language school since 2008.

And what about the German?

My German is okay but it is hard to get my point across sometimes. Speaking some German does make things easier, for instance in previous jobs I've had the teachers didn't speak English so communicating would have been hard without it. Luckily my interview was in English but because the boss only speaks German we had a translator there just in case.

You teach little ones English, that can't be easy. What's an average day at work?

We start with morning circle for about 20 minutes, which is where the kids get together in groups. Then I give 10 minute lessons to different age groups through the day, normally about colours or animals or something. The three-year-olds repeat what I say in a cute German accent and the older ones understand what I'm saying most of the time but don't always talk back. We also have a nap time when we listen to Brothers Grimm stories – sometimes I nod off too!

Is nap time the best part of the job then?

The best part is getting to be with kids and shaping their futures with English. It's important to start learning a language from a young age and their minds are like sponges so they pick it up immediately. It would benefit American kids to start languages earlier, when they're spongier. Also I get to play with toys all day, I never say no when the kids ask me to help with whatever they're making.

What do you find the hardest about your job?

When the kids don't listen and go crazy. Its hard to try to calm them down when they don't speak English. Distraction works though, getting them to sing together seems to work and Jingle Bells worked really well at Christmas time.

Have you noticed any major differences between German and American children yet?

German kids swear a lot more and I've noticed that they just run around in their tights without jeans, in the US this would be a big no no. But generally, no matter what language they speak and where they live, kids seem to be the same.

Do you plan to work with youngsters for the foreseeable future?

Well I have the choice to renew my contract in September and although it's too early to say I really hope it works out and I can carry on. I do need a new visa though, which I'm not looking forward to organizing.

Want your German career featured on The Local? Contact us at: news@thelocal.de

Jessica Ware



The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article:

The comments below have not been moderated in advance and are not produced by The Local unless clearly stated. Readers are responsible for the content of their own comments. Comments that breach our terms and conditions will be removed.

Your German Career
What do German bosses need to do to get more out of their staff? Frankfurt-based business consultant Justin Bariso has this advice.
Germany's Federal Employment Agency has identified the job sectors the country is most short of workers for. JobTalk looks at where the vacancies lie.
Students at German universities have shown themselves to be a risk-free lot in a survey by Ernst & Young. The civil service is their most popular choice of future profession, while job security is valued above all else.
Jenny Core, originally from Bolton, England, shares her tips in this week’s My German Career on being an artist in Berlin. The 27-year-old exhibits her work regularly in the city, including next to a Turner Prize shortlister.
In this week's JobTalk, Tanya Schober, who is originally from India, talks us through her journey to German citizenship.
In this week's My German Career, Anupama Gopalakrishna, who is originally from Bangalore in India, tells The Local about her new life in Frankfurt.
German Employment News
Germany is the number one non-English speaking destination for migrant workers, according to a global study. But which nationalities are keenest on Germany and where do Germans want work?
The Local speaks to experts from the German startup scene to find out how to get a job at a freshly-minted technology company.
Volkswagen hopes to put more robots to work as it says goodbye to its retiring baby boomer employees, the company's chief of human resources wrote in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday.
The jobmesse deutschland (Job Expo Germany) is rolling into Berlin on Saturday as part of its annual 18-city tour. Here's why you should go if you're looking for a job in Germany.
A new study shows more and more immigrants are starting businesses in Germany, bringing some much-needed entrepreneurial spirit to the country.
It’s not quite as romantic as the Nanny Diaries, nor is it as magical as Mary Poppins. But being an au pair in Germany can be fun, as Emma Anderson finds out.

IELTS Examiners – British Council China
The British Council is recruiting a team of IELTS examiners to be based in one of our four main cities in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Chongqing. This presents an exciting opportunity for new or current IELTS examiners to work in one of the world’s largest and most dynamic English language assessment environments

Associate Executive Officer
The United Nations University seeks an Associate Executive Officer to provide direct support to the Director of the Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources in a wide range of management tasks.

Product and service quality analyst
You will be responsible for service and product quality analysis for our clients - various distributors, retailers and global service providers.

F2F Fundraising – Return Flights to Australia
We are offering a unique opportunity to hone your awesome D2D fundraising skills AND make the world a better place for everyone. Win Win. We looking to recruit the very best door to door fundraisers from across the globe for an exciting summer in Australia.

StepStone Deutschland GmbH
Added 10/30/14

Added 10/30/14

Zalando SE
Added 10/30/14

Added 10/30/14

GE Energy Management
Added 10/30/14

Celesio AG
Added 10/30/14

Added 10/30/14

Robert Bosch GmbH, Leonberg
Added 10/30/14

Added 10/30/14

StepStone Deutschland GmbH
Düsseldorf, Brussels
Added 10/30/14