Martin Luther Schule Teacher Award


The Martin Luther Schule Teacher Award is granted annually to a graduating St. Olaf senior to teach for a year at the Martin Luther Schule, a tradition that goes back to the time of post-World War II reconstruction in West Germany. The original program ran from 1948-1968. Then, in 2002, the Martin Luther Schule renewed its relationship with St. Olaf College and has awarded a teaching assistantship to a member of the graduating class almost every year since.

The Martin Luther Schule (MLS) is a well-regarded, state-funded Gymnasium (combined middle school and college-prep high school) of 1,000 students located in the small town of Rimbach in the Odenwald north of Heidelberg. A magnet school that draws students ages 10-19 from around the nearby region, the MLS offers several special emphases such as music, sports, sciences and German-English bilingual programs in history and political science.

The Position

The MLS teaching assistantship is a part-time position situated primarily in the middle school level, teaching English and other subjects, as needed, for students ranging from ages 10-14. The work consists mainly in substitute teaching, as well as tutoring students during free times and in the after-school program. Students are also invited to attend advanced English discussion groups (ages 14-18) where the guest teacher may lead discussions about American history and contemporary cultural topics. The appointment also expects a commitment to school and community activities beyond classroom instruction. For example, past teachers have co-led the MLS’s English drama club, served as chaperones on short or overnight class trips within Germany (e.g., Berlin, Trier) and to neighboring countries, and participated in the school’s various musical ensembles.

The position is open to graduating St. Olaf seniors who have excelled in any major. The primary requirements are a self-starter mentality, flexibility and independence in teaching collaborations, professionalism, enjoyment working with young people, ability to manage the stress of living and working in another country, thorough knowledge of English, and minimum intermediate German proficiency. Prior teaching experience is not required, but is beneficial.

The Award

Rimbach Teacher Awardees receive the following support and benefits:

    • Up to $3000 total from St. Olaf College that may be used toward any of the following expenses (reimbursed with receipts):
      • Transportation between the USA and Rimbach, Germany;
      • Tuition and housing for a summer intensive German language course at the University of Heidelberg (online or in person) prior to starting work at the Martin Luther Schule (strongly recommended, but not required);
      • Part-time student tuition at the University of Heidelberg during the academic year (optional, schedule permitting);
      • BahnCard discount card for long-distance trains.
    • Emergency medical insurance provided by St. Olaf College;
    • Assistance in procuring a visa, arranging residence and work permits, contracts, tax forms, etc.;
    • 10-month contract with the Martin Luther Schule (September–July) with average income of 1000€ per month, plus some opportunities for supplementary income (e.g., private tutoring);
    • Room and board with a host family or accommodation in a shared apartment or as a lodger (rent paid by guest teacher), options based on availability;
    • Public transportation pass for regional bus and rail lines;
    • Paid opportunities to accompany class field trips around Germany;
    • Weekly seminar for teachers in training, and support and professional development from the Martin Luther Schule English faculty.


Interested seniors are encouraged to meet with Amanda Randall (, Tomson 340), Associate Professor of German and Chair of Rimbach Selection Committee.

Eligibility Requirements

  • GPA of 3.20 in the candidate’s major, 3.00 overall GPA;
  • Thorough knowledge of the English language (verbal and written) with expressed interest in language learning by immersion and formal rules of grammar;
  • Minimum intermediate German language proficiency (fourth-semester college level);
  • Resilience, flexibility and creativity in work with students ranging in age from 10-19;
  • Intellectual strengths demonstrated in written and oral projects done for coursework at St. Olaf College;
  • Fluency in the full range of liberal arts topics that comprise the education of Gymnasium students in Germany;
  • By law, employment at German schools is contingent on being vaccinated against measles.

Applications are due April 1. To complete the application, please do the following:

  1. Ask two faculty members to complete the Rimbach Faculty Recommendation Form by April 1 and submit a FERPA Student Waiver for Reference Request.
  2. Apply in Handshake and attach the following items as PDF files:
    1. completed MLS-Rimbach Teacher Award Application Form;
    2. letter of intention describing why you are applying for the MLS-Rimbach teaching award;
    3. resume of pertinent courses and experiences;
    4. unofficial transcript (an official transcript will be required if selected for the award);
    5. sample of critical or creative writing from the past two years that best demonstrates your use of English (limit: 2 pages).

Assistance uploading documents available at the Piper Center for Vocation and Career.

All applicants will be interviewed by the Selection Committee in English and German. The final decision for the appointment is made by the Director of the Martin Luther Schule.

Weschnitztal, Odenwald. Photo Credit: Rita Eberle-Wessner, artist and art teacher at the Martin Luther Schule

Past Recipients

Interested applicants who would like to talk with alumni of the program should email Prof. Amanda Randall ( to be put in contact with previous Martin Luther Schule Teaching awardees.

2021-22 – Ingrid Nelson, German & Exercise Science
2020-21 – Hanna Elstad, German
2019-20 – Alex Kim, Music
2018-19 – Sophie Buchda, Psychology
2017-18 – Daniel Heslep, English
2016-17 –Christopher Alexander, Music
2015-16 – Thomas Lambert
2014-15 – Johnna Purchase, English
2013-14 – Molly McDermott
2012-13 – Luke Obermann, Mathematics & Psychology
2011-12 – Ian Hathway, English
2010-11 – Michael Lenz, Music & Religion
2009-10 – Devin Horne, German & English
2008-09 – Laura Schaefer, German & Biology
2007-08 – Molly Sell, Music & Management Studies
2006-07 – Kate Olson, German
2005-06 – Erik Grell, History & German
2004-05 – Sarah Steingas, Philosophy & Math
2003-04 – Linda Johnke, Theater & Art
2002-03 – Erin Birch, Political Science