German Teachers vs. American Teachers – Part Two
November 10, 2011 § 2 Comments
I first wrote about this back on Sept. 1 — and it was from the perspective of my kids.
But on Tuesday, I went to the parent-teacher conference at the John F. Kennedy School (http://www.jfks.de/), where the kids go.
This is the front of the school. For a 50-year-old school it’s pretty nice. In the States it would be falling apart.
At the parent-teacher conference I found that the American teachers there have a lot of the same perspectives as my kids.
I’ll save you from re-reading the column — but after just a few days at the school, both kids came home and asked what was the matter with the German teachers. “Do they think they’re G-d?”
On Tuesday, the US teachers weren’t so blunt, but they did say the pedagogical methods employed by German teachers are not used in the States.
In plain English: “They’re different.”
Without mentioning any names (I’m never sure who reads this), several teachers just rolled their eyes when we talked about German teaching methods. Apparently, for German teachers, it’s okay to put a student down and to criticize kids in a negative way with statements like: Are you sleeping? Are you stupid?
My daughter Pauline came home one day and said she thought one of her teachers just didn’t like kids.
“Why would you become a teacher if you don’t like kids?” she asked.
I don’t know — of course there’s always at least one other side to the story.
One time when Pauline gave a wrong answer her German teacher asked her if she were sleeping. I don’t think this would ever happen in the States. Sometimes I wonder if the average German walking on the street appears to bitter and unhappy — or just like he/she is in a bad mood because of all the negativity experienced at school.
Just a thought.
Fortunately at JFK there are a fair amount of American teachers — and some German ones who understand that putting a kid down is not okay.
Arnold returns to Portland in eight days. It’s hard to believe he’s leaving so soon. But first he will get to go to the cast party for The Fantasticks, the school play for which he served as the audio engineer. I pushed him into doing stage crew. He hated it at first, but is now really enjoying it and is looking forward to the party. Pauline and I will see the play on its final performance, this Saturday.
You know, I don’t know why I think this, but I do think Arnold will come back to Berlin one day to explore his German roots. I just don’t think he’s ready to do that now and that’s okay. At least he will finish up his high school in a place where it’s not okay to call a kid stupid.