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Fourth Grade in a Foreign Country

Auf Wiedersehen


Well, that’s it for our German adventure. We have had a truly wonderful experience meeting people from around the world, learning a new language, and getting to know a different part of the planet. Our fourth grader enjoyed most of our semester abroad and, despite what she posted the other ...

A Child’s-eye View


My daughter guest blogs... Sigh. Another boring lecture on something I can’t understand. And it’s in German. And it’s still dark outside. Sigh. I am in German school, and it’s not too fun. People fight in the halls, there’s no toilet paper, soap or warm water in the bathrooms, there’s ...

Thanks, but no thanks - religion in the schools


I’ve been pondering religion and turkeys these days. Turkeys, because Thursday is Thanksgiving and we are hosting an international Thanksgiving celebration. Turkeys, because I can’t fit an American-sized turkey into a European-sized oven. Religion, because on Wednesdays my daughter’s teacher teaches religion. Religion, because I am an American and attitudes ...

What are they learning?


We have finally completed a long enough run of school days for me to give you an idea of what kids are learning in the 4th grade here in Heidelberg. As I mentioned in my post on October 5th, it’s been one thing after another preventing a solid string of ...

Texting while biking


Bicyclists are everywhere – on the streets, on the sidewalks, even in the bike lanes. They have their own traffic lights. Heidelbergers are so adept at getting around on two wheels that you often see them biking with their hands in their pockets, with a cup of coffee, or while ...

What about that short school day?


“Women 'still stuck at home with the kids'” (9/25/12) “Long school days 'hinder new sports stars'” (4/20/12) These two simplistic headlines from The Local, Germany’s News in English bookend Germany’s* struggle with increasing demands for longer school days and entrenched cultural norms. The “mommy wars”, the economy, the shortage of ...

Will classes ever really start?


I have to admit, I am a bit impatient for the school year to really get underway. My daughter just finished week four of school, but has experienced only seven or so run-of-the-mill school days. I remind myself that activities substituting for regular lessons are not wasted time and that ...

Thank goodness we did this before 5th grade


You may have heard about the German system of tracking students. Here in Bäden-Württemberg there are five different types of secondary schools that your child can attend after the 4th grade. Throughout Germany a student may attend a Hauptschule, a Realschule, or a Gymnasium, and here in Heidelberg, the student ...

Religion in the School


Ok we’ve got the weekly schedule now, at least on paper. Our daughter’s class actually spent a good chunk of the first week of school rehearsing a play for the new first graders so they really are just starting a routine. The school day is 4 hours and 20 minutes ...

Teacher’s Unions in Germany – similar concerns


On the heels of the Chicago teacher’s strike, I looked into teacher unions here in Germany. Most teachers here belong to one of two union groups, the GEW (Trade Union of Education and Science) or one of several unions under the umbrella of the DBB (German Federation of Civil Servants). ...

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