Lingoda interview: Teacher time with Alex
Published on July 4, 2018 / Updated on November 10, 2022
Name: Alexander Weber
Spirit animal: Crow (because he wears black clothes)
Dream job as a child: DJ
Actor who would play him in a movie about his life: Tom Cruise
Something’s ringing. It’s clearly not coming from the tightest headphones in the universe, which are sitting semi-comfortably on my head.
“Sorry Alex, for some reason my phone Skype went off instead of the laptop. Let me call you back.”
Moments later, a young man in a navy-blue, button-down shirt appeared on my screen. Alex Weber, 29, Lingoda teacher since March 2018, and brave volunteer for this experiment in the art of the interview, had manifested on my laptop. Lingodas Human has arrived.
It couldn’t have been more than a split second of silence before the interview started, at his initiative. My question of how he was doing was promptly met with a thorough insight into the fine night’s sleep that he had just had. As a professional DJ, Alex is on the road a lot and this weekend was no exception. He played at a wedding in Frankfurt. “For the money”, he said.
But in general, music is his life, passionate to a point where he makes art instead of dance music (to be clear, I said that, not him). He has wanted to be a musician ever since his childhood and with the usual black clothes, he fits right into the Berlin scene. Nicolas Jaar tops his list of all-time best musicians, but he considers himself to be musically open-minded, generally open-minded even.
His enthusiasm does not stop with the music though. When asked why he decided to be a teacher, he gave an unusual, but fitting response: “I love the German language”.
Honestly, I’m not saying that because he is a teacher at our language school, he actually loves German. His favorite writer is Hermann Hesse, who he has been reading since his adolescence. Back then the language was what touched him, much more than the story or the characters. Now, as an adult, Hesse has sucked him in on an even deeper level and he can identify with the author’s characters much more than as a young man.
And he gave another, rather uncommon reason for him joining the Lingoda teacher team: “I actually enjoyed going to school. As a kid, I could always picture myself going back to school after graduating. Not as a student obviously, but as a teacher.”
As an integration coach for refugees, he saw what difference his work can make in people’s lives. The work he did teaching people German who really needed it has shown him the value of language. Especially in a small town like Ingelheim, where he was teaching, in an environment in which few people speak English, it is vital for refugees to be able to learn German.
“Refugees have a very hard time if they do not speak German.”, he said. “Most places aren’t like Berlin, where everyone speaks English. And language is more than just pure communication, it is also transfer of culture. This is important for proper integration”
People often say that teaching, in and of itself, is the most rewarding job you can do. Seeing someone grow and get better with your help is incredibly gratifying. Alex agrees:
“Seeing people grow is extremely rewarding. I do miss that a little bit with Lingoda. Due to how it is structured, you don’t get the same students very often, so it is hard to see how they evolve. On a micro-level, within one class, that principle still holds true though.”
“This has many reasons, but mostly one”, Alex says. “There is no other way to enjoy the rewards of teaching while being as flexible as I want. With Lingoda, I can go do a gig in a club, come home and teach a lesson at 3 in the morning. I am not bound to a place or time. I did not want to have to miss out on either my work or my personal life and DJing.”
As one of the many people who do not fit societies 9 to 5 work scheme, Alex has found Lingoda to be the perfect way to marry life and work.