What brought tears to your eyes

Plain text from a teacher: "I saw colleagues with tears in their eyes"

BERLIN. The ministers of education had months to prepare the schools for the pandemic. Nevertheless, the school year is sinking into chaos. Frustration spreads in the teachers' rooms. News4teachers reader "SB", himself a teacher, writes the anger off his mind in an apparently sleepless night - so well and comprehensibly that we are once again presenting the article published in the News4teachers readers' forum to a wider audience want.

SB on January 5th, 2021 at 1:25 a.m.

What is missing is not so much a plan, but simply and simply courage! Election campaigns in many federal states and soon at federal level, and at the same time pandemic and crisis do not go together. It would have been correct to draw up a worst-case plan and build on it. But now you work the other way around in the normal state and then see where we can restrict. The other way around would be easier, because loosening is always better than tightening the reins (you also know from the classroom).

What was missed?

=> Inquiries to the schools

No minister of education, as far as I know, has found out in any way how we have worked for the past ten months - otherwise every piece of crap is evaluated, umpteen statistics requested a year, but nothing came of that. What was really achieved, where gaps arose, where problems arose, was not noticed. Also, nowhere was the booklet taken in hand and an actual situation summarized in headmaster meetings, demolition meetings or anywhere else and looked at who can do what, who has what to offer, what has proven itself, where things are stuck, who can help whom. No, we all continue to work in front of us in our small island state ... with umpteen different models and we are constantly reinventing the wheel for ourselves. It's amazing how you use the resources here. And then you get another one on the sack when you join forces across several schools to solve problems together, because school authorities and higher service supervisory authorities are not on good terms with each other.

=> Ask the parents

Oh yes, nobody in the whole discussion asked parents what would work for you and what is not possible at all. (Good - many colleagues are wondering, are they all telling the truth? But tendencies could be seen.) They never asked which parents could do without on-site schooling. Okay, in Baden-Württemberg there is no compulsory attendance, but in fact almost all children are there, because on the one hand nobody wants to leave their child at home as the only one in the class - and because it is clear that lessons at home don't really work because the colleagues Colleagues cannot split themselves in two.

=> Confirmations and appetizers

What were the promises that weren't there? Service laptops, FFP2 masks, free tests, special budgets, free internet for students…. What really came? Little. You wait in vain for the office laptops (but they're not important anyway, we work on site). FFP2 masks - hm, turned out to be KN95 masks in Baden-Württemberg, which were also very questionable and it is recommended not to wear them. Free Trials? You can be tested twice. But if you are sick or feel like that and go to the doctor with the certificate, he will refuse it and you will receive the complete private patient bill. Reason: You were sick. State office for salary statement - doctor is right. He doesn't have to accept the bill if they are clearly ill. So I just go to the doctor just for fun. You actually leave because you don't want to endanger yourself, your colleagues, your family.

Tests at school? No result - quick tests mentioned, but there are none on the market. Tests of children Kat1? Only at the request of parents and they then have to find an appointment themselves. And best of all: infection in a primary school class, all children in case of infection cat1 for five days, teaching teachers with masks in quarantine for a full 14 days ... Then we lost 60 children for 5 days and 17 teachers for 14 days. This is how it works in reality. When asked how this should be done, the Ministry of Education said: “This is an isolated case” - hmm, there were many of them.

=> On-site solutions

Oh God, what possibilities had been thought of, well thought out, organized - only to then drop it again. Entrepreneur wants to donate air filters? No is not possible, the school authority is against it. School wants to use empty gym rooms to straighten out rooms, school authority: No, it doesn't work, how should you distribute that fairly between six schools, then better not. Oh, you could tell jokes at the regulars' table all evening ...

=> Hygiene concepts

Oh yes, there are still those too. They were simply copied from old occupational safety rules - although occupational safety only applies to teachers in schools, but not to pupils, as we learned years ago, because the state is responsible for teachers and the responsible body for pupils. Ventilate every 20 minutes - has been in effect for years, has been hanging on all classroom doors for a long time. Distances only between teachers, every student can approach you. Mask compulsory only from grade 5 - okay, everyone has to wear them at the bus stop and on the school bus, as it suddenly no longer harms the primary school pupil. Oh yes - and very important: one-way traffic in the stairwell. It's just stupid that due to the cohorts and separate break areas, there are actually no students in the house.

=> Colleagues

A wide field. During this time you really get to know your colleagues. Those who lend a hand, those who wait, those who hesitate, those who are afraid, those who do not always obey the rules and many more. A college is a reflection of society, here you can find everything that you can follow in the press. The Lauterbach follower, the security fanatic, the critic, the questioner, the is-not-so-bad, the I-can't-anymore, the I-don't-like-anymore and the one who says: Is-so- we-have-to-go-through now.

The bad thing about it is: The behavior and planning of our superiors in school administration and ministries have contributed to the fact that many colleagues no longer want to, no longer can. Trust has been broken. Many decisions are no longer understood in the colleges. School works the way it always has - because people work their asses on site and not because a sensible plan has come up somewhere above. (And to be honest, nothing useful came from above in the last few years, only SchiSchi and publicity pseudo-stuff).

Conclusion: What have I learned in the last few months?

I recognized where there are weaknesses in the education system, in the area of ​​federalism, in the area of ​​development of society and in Germany's future viability.
I was already aware of some things, some things appalled me - when I consider that I live in a G8 country.

I got to know many people who approach this task with great respect, who are not looking for problems, but solutions. Who do not look at the clock or the pay slip, but stand up and try to get the best out of the situation. People who have tried to offer others as much protection as possible, who have thought up concepts, sometimes thrown them overboard on a weekly basis, people who were active far beyond their actual tasks.

But I also saw an incredible amount of frustration. I saw colleagues with tears in their eyes in the staff room because they were overwhelmed. With tears because they have to go into a 14-day quarantine for the second time within a few weeks because of 45 minutes of substitute instruction. Where all the anger was dumped from equally frustrated parents. Colleagues who could no longer understand which decisions were made.

I got to know parents who had an incredible understanding of this situation, who were ready to help, who brought ideas from their professions into the school. Who tried to ensure as much normalcy as possible with the best possible protection. And much more.

All year long, my fears have all become a reality. And actually I was hoping, hey, now in November, the politicians, the executives in the ministries get it, the smoke alarm doesn't beep, no, the hut is on fire. And again I woke up in reality. The same sham discussion as ten months ago starts all over again. School - whatever the cost. Plans? No.

I am for face-to-face teaching - but for teaching that does not take place in another world. For a lesson in which the rules apply that apply everywhere. In which students apply these rules in school so that they internalize them. So that a change in behavior for some takes place outside of school. I am in favor of the courage now to take stock of the situation and make decisions and say that we will not finish this school year normally, we will cut, reduce and adjust. I am in favor of offering care to those who really need it. I am in favor of having the courage to say that not every child needs care.

We will be able to do little. We will continue to do our best on site and go to work with a lot of respect for the danger, and many of us will therefore continue to restrict ourselves personally because we know about the risk of infection. And that's what makes me sad. That you always give 150 percent as a teacher, as you have done for many years - and now you have reached your limits.

Dear colleagues, in service we can hardly defend ourselves and if we are honest, we really only want to be there for the children entrusted to us and help them on their way to grow up. But still: Outside you can raise your voice. Write to your MPs, complain to your unions and talk to each other. Be brave outside of social media, because that's where you'll get the least amount of attention. And stay strong and healthy….

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Plain text from a teacher: The school system is collapsing any moment! We are burned out!