While she’s now the Lower School German & BMW School Program Coordinator, Angelika Hummel-Schmidt’s story begins in Bavaria, Germany, in 1987. That’s when she started teaching.
Hummel-Schmidt taught in Germany for 10 years before BMW asked her if she would be interested in designing a school program for the children of German expat families in Greenville.
“This is how I came to Greenville,” Hummel-Schmidt said. “The first few years, I worked for BMW, despite the fact that I was a teacher and was working with the kids and their families designing the program.”
Hummel-Schmidt remained a BMW employee until the program was outsourced to Christ Church Episcopal School. She spent the first years getting all of the German students under one roof.
“We consolidated everybody at CCES,” she said. “And now I teach the German students the same way that Americans are taught English so they are prepared when they return to Germany.”
The German Program and “tracking system”
The German program that Hummel-Schmidt designed at CCES uses a tracking system that is found in Germany.
“Students are exposed to academics for the first time in first grade, and then after fourth grade, they follow a tracking system,” she said. “Students have to decide what track they will be on for the next five to seven years.”
The German program includes four tracks. The lower track is more hands-on track, according to Hummel-Schmidt, and prepare students for trades like carpentry and plumbing. The middle track, which is more academic but also practical, prepares students for white collar professions. And the highest track prepares students for college.
Students must decide which track to go into after the fourth grade.
“This is why it's so important to teach them here in order to be prepared for all this,” she said.
Bringing a global view to CCES
In addition to teaching German students, Hummel-Schmidt strives to bring a global perspective to CCES. She often visits classrooms to share German customs, like how to hold a knife and fork while eating.
“In Germany, you eat with your knife in your right hand and you eat with your fork in your left hand,” she said. “You don't interchange like we do here when we cut.
“So we practice this to show different customs that other people have.”
Hummel-Schmidt has also incorporated German traditions in the Lower School, such as sharing German holidays like St. Martin and St. Nicholas with other students.
The teaching veteran also helps her fellow teachers understand issues facing international families when they move to the U.S.
“Since some faculty have never been to Europe,” Hummel-Schmidt said, “we have projects to help them understand the situation of an international family when they come over here.”
Hummel-Schmidt says she enjoys all of the ways she serves CCES. She says, however, that being a teacher is what she was called to do.
I love teaching,” Hummel-Schmidt said. “That's why I'm on this earth. Teaching is my life. It’s the core of my being.
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Christ Church Episcopal School (“CCES”) admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileged, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at CCES. CCES does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, national or ethnic origin, creed, religion, or sexual orientation in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, scholarship or other programs, or athletic or other school-administered programs and activities.