It was decided early on that each boy going on the
trip be required to learn a minimal amount of German.
But how do you incentivize a teen-ager to do this?
Easy... the deal we struck was that IF the boy could pass a simple
competency test, then, and only then, they would be allowed to use
electronics on the bus and plane ride. Otherwise, they'd have to
resort to ancient techniques of passing the time, like reading, or
looking out the window. (oh, the horror!)
Herr Ivory and Herr Bauer provided classes on managing simple
phrases... hello, good by, thank you, excuse me... how to count, and
say where they were from.
Herr Bauer went above and beyond, and created
a small PDF primer to help the
boys study. Many of the boys found apps on their phones that
would help them study. All in all, we were quite pleased with
There was a surprise in store for the boys though on
testing day. One by one, they were brought into a small room,
complete with bright lights and a video recorder. While they
expected to have to hold up to a short conversation with der
Luftmarshall, the instead had to face down a young lady (ein sehr
hübsches Mädchen!). She was an exchange student from Germany that was
staying with Herr Bauer at the time.
After the fact, one of the boys called foul. He pointed out
that he had a tough enough time talking to American girls in English.