Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Stop the glorification of "busy"

Stop the glorification of busy- 

In German school I have gathered an immeasurable amount of knowledge. The most profound being, that "busy" is not always good and "busy" doesn't always mean engaged.

These 9 and 10 year olds are close to becoming fluent in two languages, but when they get in high school some will become fluent in three.

The students start class at 8:00 a.m. and get out at 12:40 p.m. Some stay until 1:40 p.m. for tutoring.

They have a 5 minute break between period 1 and 2 they have a 15 minute break between period 3 and 4 and another 5 minute break at the end of period 4. They go home after 5 periods.

Stop the glorification of busy

In American school we go to school from 7:55 until 2:45 with a 25 minute lunch break and a 15 minute recess.

The student walk in straight lines. The student sit in desks for hours. The students have the same subjects every single day.

Our students go home and some have extra curricular activities

 Stop the glorification of busy

"How does this compare with other countries? In 2008, the U.S. high school graduation rate was lower than the rates of the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Finland and Denmark. That same year, the U.S. was the only developed nation where a higher percent of 55- to 64-year-olds than 25- to 34-year-olds had graduated from high school." -  cnn blog (
The US has a 76% graduation rate and Germany has an 84%- 
Being in Germany has completely changed my views on students being engaged. The "fair" treatment of students, in regards to their educational needs, is NOT the same for every student so why should one set of standards for one type of school be sufficient for each individual student? It shouldn't. 
Keeping students busy with content is not teaching them. Letting them actively apply the knowledge is teaching them. 
If a student wants to be a baker, why should they take geometry? They shouldn't. Algebra- sure they'll use that, but geometry? They'd benefit more from a math class on metric and standard conversions. By FORCING students to take classes they do not need to simply "keep them busy" hinders them from being the best that they can be. 
A well rounded pupil- definition- a student who masters all content areas and participates in extra curricular activities. 
A well rounded pupil- MY defintion- a global citizen- someone who can be dropped off in another country and flourish- a student who applies what he or she needs to retain in order to achieve their goals. 
In the US the 7 healthy habits are being taught in many schools. Number two: begin with the end in mind. How can we preach this to students when in the classroom I have to cloud their vision of being a machinist with Ernest Hemmingway? In the end poetry is not a vital building block in the education of a child who wants to be a machinist.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I came to teach, but I am learning so much more

 SAturday I went to Amsterdam. It was a beautiful city, but it was also very dirty. There was trash everywhere. I had a famous pancake. It was delicious. So, that was the weekend, but I was more excited about the upcoming week. I am going to an elementary school called "Wiehagenschule".
The week at the elementary school had been fantastic. The students are so eager to learn another language. I have 4 lessons a day. I get there at 10:25 and leave at 1:25. The teachers are so nice and helpful. I can't wait to be an elementary school teacher. The language barrier is hard, and sometimes the students get frustrated. I think it is amazing that I am a 21 year old woman and I can't fluently speak another language, but a fourth grader in Germany can.
I think because of this simple fact, our American Students are being slighted. Think about how much they would love school if they only had to go 6 hours a day with three breaks.
Another thing, there is no teacher burn out. The teachers have breaks too. During the breaks they can sit and drink coffee, but they can also copy papers, clean the room, or anything else. The students can LEAVE FOR LUNCH. But get this, THEY COME BACK!!!
The students see learning as their responsibility. They actively seek to learn. Amazing stuff here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Smiles, frowns and "uh" is universal

My host mom babysits a little girl. Her name is Amelie. She speaks 0 English , but I always smile at her and she smiles back. I have learned that smiling is universal. (Except in cultures where it is a bad thing of course).
One day I forgot my schedule at home and went to the wrong class. A frown is universal too. And whether German or American frowns still make me feel oh so bad.
I tried to speak German. When I can't find a word to say, I stall with "uhhhhh". My host parents also do this. Everyone does this.

School is very different here. The schedule is more relaxed and the student seems to like school a lot. I find it exceptionally awesome that German students are bilingual in fifth grade. I will post pictures later of the beautiful city and school. My week in a nutshell

Monday: arrive, met my host family, came "home", got unpacked, ate, went to sleep
Tuesday: school, lunch which was awesome, home
Wednesday: met the mayor
Thursday: school, Lunen for Megan's birthday dinner
Friday: my favorite class of fifth grade students. All of them spoke to me. The older students just stare.

This experience in student teaching is awesome.
Tomorrow I will go to Amsterdam with my host family.

I am excited :)
I do t want it to rain :(
And uhhhhhhhh
Guten tag

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I am packed. I am very excited. I leave tomorrow at 2:45p.m. Yesterday was ... yesterday. I left fourth grade. They were so fantastic. I was very blessed to have such an amazing experience at H.E.S. I still need to get some things together. I'm going over to my Mamaw's house tonight to eat dinner with them.  They're so sweet. My Papaw was in Germany during WWII. He drove a truck and informed me to stay off the Audubon .