New world language teacher follows liebe for German


Rebekah Kim

Sergey Artemyev stands in front of a map of Germany to indicate where the German state Hessen is located. Artemyev, who taught at La Habra High School before coming here this school year, looks forward to teaching his students about the German language and culture. “Add German to your schedule!” he said. “Germany remains an important business partner for the United States, and with so few Americans able to speak German, those who can have an immediate advantage in the job market.”

Divya Bharadwaj, Feature Editor

This story was updated with new information on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022.

Sergey Artemyev is the modern day renaissance man. 

“In general, my life experience has been challenging, dynamic, complicated, interesting and unique,” said Artemyev, Sunny Hills’ new German teacher. 

One aspect that encapsulates his unique background is his passion to be an explorer.

“I have been to nearly 100 different cities from around the world,” Artemyev said. “Many people have the dream of living in another country for at least once sometime during their life. With good reason: when moving abroad, everything is different – new opportunities, new lifestyles, a new direction.”

For Russian-born Artemyev, that new direction started after he graduated from Moscow State Linguistic University with a master’s degree in foreign languages and in education. That’s also where he studied pedagogy, psychology, linguistics, sociology, language history, literature, cross cultural communication and modern Russian and modern English. 

Later on, he continued his education at Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany, studying Germanistic.

Despite his vast experience in academic studies and numerous careers including journalism, public administration, cross cultural consulting and others, Artemyev said he always wanted to be a teacher. 

“There are two types of teachers: those who start teaching immediately after getting their degree and those who gain some experience first, and then go to teaching,” he said. “I belong to the second group.”

“There are two types of teachers: those who start teaching immediately after getting their degree and those who gain some experience first, and then go to teaching. I belong to the second group.””

— Sergey Artemyev

Artemyev said his call to the teaching profession stemmed from another educator. 

“It was my German teacher, her love for the children and her passion for German language, German culture and German history,” he said, preferring not to go into details about her name or how old he was when he was her student.

Upon arrival to the United States, Artemyev completed necessary studies at UCLA and Stanford University to be able to get his teaching credential in this country. 

While he is credentialed to teach social science and German and Russian languages in four different states – Alaska, Oregon, Washington and California – the instructor said he decided to stay in California because of the beautiful weather. 

Before accepting a position in the Fulleron Joint Union High School District [FJUHSD] at Sunny Hills, he was teaching German and World History in Northern California and then at La Habra High School, another FJUHSD campus.

He plans to spread German culture and create a passion for his German classes. 

In response to the question, “Why did you move to Sunny Hills High School?” Artemyev said: “I am interested in a school that considers foreign languages to be an important part of general education. Sunny Hills is the only school in the district that offers German despite the fact that German is seen as a difficult language to learn.” 

He said he looks forward to starting a National German Honor Society Chapter for students pursuing this language. 

Senior Aidan Wong, who is taking International Baccalaureate [IB] German Standard Level, looks forward to the activities Artemyev has planned for the year as well as the IB exam.

“I think it will take some time getting used to, but so far, he seems like a fair teacher and wants us to understand grammar rules and expand our vocabulary,” Wong said. “On our first day, he said we’ll be celebrating Oktoberfest and having a gingerbread making competition in December, so those seem fun.” 

That’s just one way Artemyev plans to engage his students.

“When we have activities about the real world, students seem curious,” he said. “Then, performance-related tasks: monologues, dialogues, plays, cultural presentations. My students like to see what others create. 

“And of course, humor – you are more likely to come to class if you know you will laugh at least once.”

Outside of the classroom, Artemyev said he also wants to show his school spirit. 

“I definitely will go to the football and soccer games to see my students play,” he said. “I am looking forward to building trusting relations with the SHHS community as soon as possible. Amazing things can happen in a positive environment. I can see good spirit here.”

As he begins his first year here, the German instructor said he hopes to incorporate Sunny Hills’ positive environment in his classroom and to instill a renaissance mindset in his students.

“I will try to encourage my students to take ownership of their own learning,” Artemyev said. “If you believe you have the ability to do something, you will be successful.”