BETHEL – Luke Mason likes to meet people from other countries, so having a Swiss intern for a teacher is fun.

“We learn about other cultures, and he speaks a whole lot of languages,” the Crescent Park School fourth-grader said of David Brechbuehl of Zurich.

Brechbuehl is serving an internship with teacher Kasey Jerome. The experience will enable him to return home and teach English along with other subjects to elementary students.

“It’s fun to learn about his life,” said student Ali Turnick of Newry.

It’s fun, and hard work, for Brechbuehl, too.

This is the first time he has been in the United States, and he’s finding that Bethel is very much like home, at least geographically. But, there’s no public transportation and unlike Switzerland, the population is very sparse.

In Bethel, youngsters have a different teacher each year. In Switzerland, one teacher stays with a class for three years: grades one to three and four to six. Brechbuehl has the upper grades.

He got to Bethel through SAD 44’s special education director, Elise Thomas of Harrison, whose son, Adam, met Brechbuehl when Adam was teaching English as a second language in Switzerland.

Both young men are avid bicyclists.

Jerome, who has been teaching for 10 years, said she was thrilled to have Brechbuehl as her assistant teacher for a few weeks.

“It’s new and exciting for the students. They look forward to the afternoons. It’s neat for me to observe my students learn from him,” Jerome said.

“He’s not afraid to ask for help, which is good for children to see in adults,” she said. “It’s great to have a male teacher. It’s a great experience for the students.”

Brechbuehl also enjoys working with Jerome.

“She’s a very great teacher,” he said.

Brechbuehl is expected to teach the regular fourth-grade curriculum in English and prepare lessons.

During the last few minutes of the school day Wednesday, Brechbuehl showed the 16 children in Jerome’s class a slide show on his home country: speedy rail trains, sleek ships and the powerful-sounding alphorn, a long, curved wooden horn used by mountain dwellers in Switzerland and elsewhere for communication. The horns are made from one kind of tree that grows in the mountains, Brechbuehl said.

“Do the horns have keys?” Luke asked.

No, said Brechbuehl.

Ali, a clarinet player, was impressed.

“I’ve heard of an alphorn, but this is something new,” she said.

Brechbuehl lives with the Thomas family during the week and some weekends travels to Vermont to visit his friend, Adam. Once he has completed his internship in early April, he plans to visit Boston and New York City.



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