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Welcome and Goodbye to Sandra O´Neill

Wir sind froh, nach 2006 wieder eine Fremdsprachenassistentin (FSA) im Fachbereich Englisch an der Realschule Bremervörde begrüßen zu können und freuen uns auf die Engländerin Sandra O´Neill, die unserer Schule nach unserer Bewerbung im Frühjahr jetzt über den Pädagogischen Austauschdienst zugeteilt wurde.

Sandra O´Neill wird die Englischlehrer im Unterricht unterstützen. Als "native speaker" kann sie die Schüler natürlich viel stärker motivieren, mit ihr in ihrer Muttersprache Englisch zu sprechen als mit einem deutschen Englischlehrer. In Kleingruppen wird sie die Schüler ermutigen, frei zu sprechen.

Die junge Engländerin wird bis Ende Mai 2015 an unserer Schule tätig sein und soll in allen Klassenstufen eingesetzt werden. So kann sie auch die Zehntklässler auf die seit diesem Jahr vorgeschriebenen mündlichen Abschlussprüfungen im Fach Englisch im Frühjahr 2015 vorbereiten.

Herzlich willkommen Sandra 0´Neill.


(Fachbreich Englisch)


Und nun stellt sich Sandra O`Neill einmal selbst vor:

Hello everyone at Findorff – Realschule

I am really excited to be here and to meet you all. If we haven’t met yet, we will do soon in the next few weeks. So I have been asked to write a little about myself and where I come from, so I will try and keep it as short as possible so that I don’t bore you to tears.

As most of you already know I am from England, from a little town called Bishop Auckland in the County of Durham, North East England. Still don’t know where it is?? Its near to Newcastle and the boarder to Scotland. Still not sure where I live? Don’t worry there is a map in the school hallway that shows you where I am from. Fun fact: Bishop Auckland was the home of the Prince Bishops of Durham. They even had their own castle to live in.

However, I didn’t always live in Bishop Auckland. My parents moved to Bishop Auckland two years ago and I have been living there since leaving University a year ago. I originally was born here in Germany in Osnabrück to a British Army Soldier and a German woman (i.e. my parents). Yes, I’m half German and can speak a bit of German. Due to my dad being in the army I have moved around a lot. I have lived in Germany a few times before now, three times in Osnabrück and once in Münster. I have also lived in Cyprus and all over the UK i.e. Kent, North Yorkshire, Surrey and a somewhere near Stonehenge. I’ve also lived in Hull for three years while I did my Bachelors degree in German and History at the University of Hull. Fun Fact: Hull was voted the city of culture for 2017 – so if you get the chance to, go and visit Hull. It’s a beautiful port city and it’s not too far away from the medieval city of York.

I have two younger sisters, Jennifer, 21 years old and my little sister Alexandra, 15 years old. (Please refer to the photos to see how different they look to me.) Jennifer is in the British Army and is currently working on her tan in sunny Afghanistan. Alex is working toward her dream as an engineer. She is currently in her final year of secondary school and is doing her GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) this year. Also, as most of you know, I have 7 pets. No not 7 children or 7 boyfriends but 7 pets! 5 guinea pigs called Schnuffie and Scruffy (aka Mr and Miss Piggy) and Rowan, Gingy and Knight (aka the Minions). Then there is Murphy, our dog. They say that dogs look like their owners; well it’s certainly true about Murphy and my dad. Last but not least is our gerbil1 called Nibbles. Unfortunately, I haven’t got a photo of him as he isn’t very photogenic and sleeps most of the day.

So enough about my zoo. Back to me. Well I’m a qualified English as a foreign language teacher, often referred to as EFL/ TEFL/ESL/TESOL Teacher.2 I just completed a two month summer teaching post at a Summer Camp in England where I taught children between the ages of 10 – 18 from mostly Spain, Italy and Russia. I tell you a little secret, what I have seen so far, your English is a lot better that the Spanish and Italian children I taught. Once I am finished here in Germany I want to go and teach English in East Asia, in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea before returning to England and doing my Masters in Medieval History.

When I am not travelling all over Europe or teaching noisy Italian and Spanish students the difference between me, we, her and him I spend my free time reading, cross stitching or playing hockey. My favourite book if called ‘The Gift’ by an Australian author called Alison Croggon. I highly recommend it is you like ‘The Hobbit’ or the ‘Harry Potter’ series. If you want to read any English books and are not sure what to read, come and see me and I can recommend a few.

I have been asked several times what my favourite films is by some the pupils and after several bags of crisps, packets of biscuits, cups of tea and some serious DVD watching later, I have narrowed it down to three film that I always love watching; the first is the first ‘Hobbit’ film, the second is ‘St. Trinian's’, a very funny British chick flick, comedy film, finally, I have to include at least one ‘Harry Potter’ film, ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’.

I am very happy to be back in Germany and working as the Fremdsprachenassistenin here in Bremervörde. I hope to help as much as I can in improving your English whilst I am here. I know my German isn’t perfect, I haven’t practised in over a year and I have noticed I make lots of silly of mistakes, but I have already learnt two new words in German; ‘Bummelbahn’ which I think will be very useful phrase and ‘Schnaeppchen’. So if you see me around don’t be afraid to come and talk to me. I would love to talk to you all.

Oh dear, several cups of tea later I have just realised I was supposed to keep it short and not to write a whole autobiography of my life. Opps! Oh well. I guess I will stop here. If you have any more questions about me or the UK or anything don’t be afraid to come and ask me.

See you in school,


Sandra O’Neill


1 Gerbil (n) – a borrowing mouse like rodent that is specially adapted to living in desert conditions, found in Africa and Asia. ( Oxford Dictionary)


2 I have completed the Cambridge English Level 5 Certificate In Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages also known as CELTA certificate for short.


and here Sandra´s "Goodbye letter":

Dear Guys and Girls at Findorff Realschule

How are you? Unfortunately I bring some sad news today. The really sad news is that I won’t be coming back after the Xmas holidays. The reason why I am leaving is that I have decided to do my teacher training next year in September.  As part of the application process I have to spend 15 days in a secondary school in the UK in Modern Foreign Languages (German in my case). I also have to attend 3 University interviews and therefore I would be absent from Findorff Realschule for 4 to 5 weeks and would be unable to fulfil my role as an English Language Assistant, which is not fair on the pupils and staff. Furthermore I can’t financially afford to travel back and forth between England and Germany. This has led me to make the difficult decision to resign my position as English Language Assistant after trying very hard to find a different solution.  
I would like this opportunity to thank you all.  I have really enjoyed my time here at the Findorff Realschule.  Everyone has been kind and helpful to me and that has really helped me settle down here in Bremervörde.  
I have really enjoyed visiting the year 5s, 6s and 7s. I still have the pictures that some of the girls drew for me.  I will keep them safe and pin them up on wall of my first classroom to remind of my time here.  I also hope that you will remember me and my 7 pets, especially my little sister’s gerbil, Phoenix.  Gerbil is die Wüstenrennmaus. :)    I have also enjoyed helping out in the year 9s and 10s as well. I have learnt quite a bit about Australia that I never knew before.  I am also grateful to all those who came to my English Conversation Class and I hope you found it useful or at least as an opportunity to listen to a Native speaker.  Hope you still remember what swagger1 means and what wellies (Wellington boots) are and the history behind the name. :)     
Even though my time here has been short I have learnt a lot while being here. One of the things I have learnt is the big differences between the schools in the UK and Germany and how they run. I also take away with me my new favourite word in German; der Bummelzug.  Travelling by slow trains has also been a new experience for me. I often forget how big Germany is, especially Niedersachsen.  I took me just over 5 hours to get here on Sunday from Osnabrück. But I feel like I’ve finally conquered the German public transportation system and their complex timetables and grumpy and unhelpful Information point advisors.  
However, one of the things I couldn’t get used to, was getting up really early in the morning. Even though I have been going to bed early every night I still find it really hard to get up in the mornings. I really admire you guys and girls for being able to get up early, go to school and still be full of energy all day.  I can’t function without my first cup of tea most days and I am not really awake until after 9 o’clock.  I am happy to say that I can’t wait to be able to sleep in untill 8am again and be in school for 9 o’clock.  :)
Once again, thank you everyone! I am going to miss you all!
I wish you all the best in the future, especially the year 9s and 10s with their English oral exams.  Remember give as much detail as you can.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sandra O’Neill

P.S (Post Script) If you didn’t understand what I have written ask your English teacher to help.