What teachers say to kids...

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My daughter has been in the 5th class since November and has learned alot of German in a short time. It has been almost impossible to find any proper German tuition for her that has any kind of structure. Her current German teacher feels her tuition is inadequate. However, the school have told us they cannot offer anything and cannot suggest any teacher who may have private time available. We did register loud and clear, the head's comment not to expect "extra Wurst". The Schulamt say that there's nothing available to a kid unless they are Turkish or from another Eastern European country. They say the fact that my daughter has already some German knowledge would make her too advanced for the Förderkurse they give to kids. When I asked them how do immigrant kids get to understand the complexities of German grammar, I was told that it doesn't matter for them as they will end up at Haup/Realschule. Sounds very unPC to me.

 

Anyway, despite my daughter managing to pick up 1-4s in her recent tests (other classmates got lower marks), teachers have openly ridiculed her for not understanding all of the German questions. Things were said like "You've been in Germany for nearly a year and you don't understand the word xx", "If you don't understand all the German questions then you have no chance in a German school", "Better hurry to learn German in the summer holidays or you won't be able to stay here". All this is despite the fact that we have decided that she re-starts the 5th class in August anyway. One of the teachers told another kid "Dein Arbeit ist Scheisse" at which point the kids bursts out crying - they are only 10-11. Luckily my daughter is fairly tough and I explain to her that the teachers are just trying to encourage her in an odd kind of way. She bought that one!

 

Is this kind of teacher talk normal? Should I ignore it? Other parents have told me that being too nice with the school management gets you nowhere. Seems to contradict all the pädagogisch stuff they spout.

 

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

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A former girlfriend who, when we met was a Hauptschule teacher, then later became a Grundschule teacher, once admitted to me that her and her colleagues would not bother making any effort beyond the bare minimum that was required in teaching kids from poor or immigrant backgrounds because their futures as kebab shop employess or hairdressers had been determined for them by the time they were out of the first year at Grundschule.

 

As far as I know it is most schools offficial policy not to recommend external tutors, so you will have to do that bit yourself.

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Crikey - you are not having an easy ride.

 

We have been shocked at the way that teachers talk to each other/pupils/parents here as compared to the UK, and adjusted our cultural ears accordingly, but even so, that 'scheisse' comment seems way not OK. The ridiculing of your daughter is absolutely unacceptable. Here in our corner of Niedersachsen my kids are auslaender just like the eastern europeans, and have had the appropriate help accordingly, admittedly at an earlier stage, and I find this distinction between auslaender totally unhelpful and wrong.

 

Is there a teacher that you trust and is helpful? This would be my starting point for this discussion of what is appropriate language in the classroom. It is more acceptable to make comments and complaints here about how things are done directly to the teacher, which would be a total no-no back in UK. In both of our schools the head does not take the same role of parent/teacher interface that I would expect.

 

You have dealt with this with your daughter brilliantly, keeping it positive and thank goodness she is a toughie. Also doing amazingly well, with those recent marks. Good for you! (both)

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Is this kind of teacher talk normal?

 

No, but some teachers are not normal either. Hopefully she'll have a different teacher when she repeats the 5th.

keep cramming the language in her head, she's young and it will stick eventually.

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In my experience, German teachers are extremely lazy and disorganized, right across the board, e.g.: it typically takes a minimum 4 weeks to get test papers marked and returned.

 

You could try looking for Nachhilfe in your area.

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Thank you you both for your replies. Interesteing what Chocky's former girlfriend said about not making any effort. I heard that too from an elderly teacher who said that nowadays, teachers just can't be bothered anymore - particularly with kids who may need to be actually taught rather than the curriculum being thrown at them - sink or swim. A mistake we made was not realising that teachers have no time to teach kids so if any have a question, that's too bad. My daughter's maths teacher told us that she didn't do anything with my daughter as she thought she couldn't speak German. We didn't control what was going on early enough but it now seems that we have to find Nachhilfe for maths too. At least she has a chance to re-start the year in August. I didn't realise that teachers don't ever look at the kids work or homework. Everything is measured by the regular tests.

 

We were shocked in a recent meeting with the head that it was suggested to us that another school might be better for our daughter with lower academic expectations. The suggestion was Waldorf or Montessori. The thought of moving to yet another school would be horrifying. Having googled both of the suggested schools and read an interesting TT thread, neither would be an option.

 

Unfortunately, there are no teachers that I know or trust - none seem to want to stick their neck out so to speak. The irony is that technically, we aren't even Ausländer - just never lived here before. I'll keep on trying to make it all seem positive for my daughter - we laugh by saying that the most offensive teacher is like Megan in the film Bridesmaids!

 

Many thanks again

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No, it is not normal. Make a fuss about it, get together with other parents, complain about this attitude. Document every remark that you consider unfair and inappropriate and confront first the teacher/s, then the principal.

 

Of ten teachers that Cat had in her last year one (female) ridiculed the class in general regularly, going so far as to tell Cat to shut up unless she already has a prospective job. Cat pointed out that she had not been talking at the time and refused to be treated like that. The teacher slanged back, I went in to see the teacher and spoke to the principal as well. Nothing changed but the teacher took early retirement the next year.

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You could try looking for Nachhilfe in your area.

 

Another lesson we learned is the dependancy on Nachhilfe. I've heard of a few Mums who have to work just to pay for Nachhilfe. My Mum, a very forthright woman says I should take the whole story to Bild zeitung. Don't think that will help!

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Just another thing...the school keep insisting that I have to find a specific "Deutsche als Fremdsprache" teacher. This is truly hard to find. Although I have no "pädagogisch" experience, I would argue that a child who has a fairly good general comprehension could learn German with the same kind of structure as a younger Grundschule child. The school suggested Berlitz though having spoken to them before, I wasn't convinced that their one-to-one tuition would be appropriate.

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I am actually appalled by what you've recounted and once again count my own blessings.

 

How about a university student in need of extra cash for German / Math tutoring? I don't see how a 'specialist' in German for foreigners is even necessary. The whole thing is BS and in your place would have me seething.

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It is a bugger that there isn't a trusted teacher.

 

Totally agree with sarabyrd's 'document it all' for the rude episodes.

 

Nachhilfe. It may be worth going to the local library to find out about reading groups etc for kids that some of them run. In one of the places we lived, there was 'lesen macht spass' going on. Apart from the language support your daughter would gain from taking part in the big kid's group, the volunteers themselves may know of retired teachers etc who would be willing to help with an intensive programme of assistance. Just a thought, and of course nothing like that may happen where you are, but worth mentioning just in case. When we did the reverse and turned up in the UK with a yr3 kid who had never been to school, it was a retired teacher who saved our bacon.

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Cause a stink.. all the way to Bild[ungsministerium] if you have to.

 

Shame that teachers are unsackable, even if they're crap.

 

Can you get a tax rebate for having to educate your own kids?

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Good for you notmename8 - great to hear that your kids have made it. It can work out even against all odds. Hard work for parents though.

 

I think the school is starting to feel that I am getting more persistent. My daughter's class teacher made some barbed comment about how I have alot to say for myself. Other parents - especially with older kids in the school, have told me that my daughter represents work for the teachers so maybe they would rather she wasn't there. Thanks for the suggestion regarding an older kid...We already have a 17 year old teaching her at the school though the German teacher feels this is insufficient though cannot suggest anything else. Very helpful!

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Cause a stink.. all the way to Bild[ungsministerium] if you have to. Shame that teachers are unsackable, even if they're crap.

 

Can you get a tax rebate for having to educate your own kids?

 

According to the school grapevine, a number of teachers have just been sacked for being cr*p. So there is some justice for the kids! Interesting question regarding the tax rebate...I've asked our tax advisor and apparently you used to be able to offset Nachhilfe - though only if provided by proper organisations or if your kid has some kind of learning disabiliy.

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Unfortunately they get 'moved on' no matter how awful, until they can decently be retired, as sarabyrd mentioned. So the crap teachers are still Beamting away somewhere, messing up kids lives. Good that your school has made that effort, though, and one wonders just how appalling the removed teachers were if those who are left are as you describe. Incredible.

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Don't take any advice from the teachers. I will say that it has been the biggest and longest battle of my life (Not over yet I still have one more child) I have met teachers along the way that have been great and worked with me. They are few and far between but they are out there and when they know you will be knocking on the door for every problem they do work with you. Just don't take no for an answer. I made it clear from the start that my children would make their abitur, in regular school, with or without their help. No options. No discussion.

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I am actually appalled by what you've recounted and once again count my own blessings.

 

How about a university student in need of extra cash for German / Math tutoring? I don't see how a 'specialist' in German for foreigners is even necessary. The whole thing is BS and in your place would have me seething.

 

Thanks hams, yes I do get fairly seething - My daughter's teacher was a bit surprised when I told her that I had contacted the Hessiche Kultusministerium for advice. They were ok, emailed me a 100 page pdf that amounts to basically nothing and told me that it would be different if we were from Turkey and that this is a big issue in Germany. Thanks for your agreement that a specialist German teacher can't be necessary. Ironic really as 90% of German teachers that I have come across speak very good English anyway. Most German subject teachers also teach English too. I'd even ring Angela if I thought it would help!

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