To Be or not to Be

Hey everybody,

being stuck in Germany for the moment I do try to do my best to make days pass byone after another. And sometimes in-between these endless days moments of idealism hit. Idealism as in “maybe you just have to show them just how to do it!”. Yes, I know, being a Pagan and – more important – the person I am I’m not supposed to interfere. And that, of course, does apply to Germany and the German way of life too. In the end they have chosen to live that way, hadn’t they they’d just lift their asses and do something about it. Which obviousely they don’t. So who, in the god’s world, am I to try to change their way of living if they’ve chosen it?

Most of the time that way of looking at it does help. It helps with the desperation I feel from every corner arround the country. It helps with my own desire of sending my head versus the wallor some other object obviously stronger than me. Where it does not help, however, is when children are involved.

I’m doing some tutoring in the afternoon these days with a local tutoring institute. I’ve been a tutor before – for some seven or eight years in total so far – back home in Austria. And I’ve always loved it. I loved to see the hope and pride, the honest pleasure in the kid’s eyeswhen they had finally understood a topic, a grammatical concept or a calculation they had sworn they’d not understand in a lifetime an hour earlier. It was great you could get money out of something that had already given me so much. In Germany, however, this is different.

First of all the age group I’m dealing with is different. In Austria it’s mostly 15 yrs. and up who need tutoring – numbers rising as they approach graduation – and most of them need help in one, maybe two subjects whilst the rest of them are fine. Here in Germany all of a sudden I see 10 yrs. old and younger being clueless in every subject imaginable. I have to teach English, German, Math, History and Biology at one time sometimes. Just recently I’ve read an article by German magazine “Spiegel” that indicated half of all German students of 10 yrs. and up needed tutoring to get through school. Really, shouldn’t this be the point at which a society recognizes that something’s terribly wrong with their educational system?

What’s worse is what I get to see during my tutoring classes in Germany. Like in that 15 yrs. old last Thursday who, after four full years of English classes, wasn’t able to tell me the forms of the English verb “to be“. All he did was looking at me puzzled as if I was requesting impossible tasks of him. Well apparently for him it was mission impossible, as soon became clear when he opened his mouth stumbling phrases like “I … are …!?”.

Or take that 11 yrs. old student of mine (who’s attending a private school by the by) whom I asked to point at Germany on that colorful world map at the walls of the institute. She didn’t take a second. And pointed at some place in-between Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Well, sure they’re some Germans there, but not exactly all the 80 Millions of them … So we made things a little easier. I asked her for the location of Europe. Again she pointed at Russia. Obviously no clue. I took some deep breaths, calmed myself down and took some minutes to show her the major continents and – most of all – Europe. We’re playing the little game every time I see her now until I’m 100% sure she knows where she lives. Perhaps I can make that little bit of a change …!?

And then on the other hand another student (13 yrs.) shows me that halfway filled-in history test he recently did and I ask him why he didn’t fill in the final two questions. Didn’t he know the answer? Of course he did! And on he goes explaining to me in a perfectly right and clear way. So why did he get an F for the test? He had twelve (12!) minutes to fill in two pages of history test. What the f*ck? Relying on my handwriting even I would’ve had a difficult time doing that!

Really, something’s terribly wrong here. But then, again, it’s not my country. I can’t and shouldn’t change their way of living. It’s their own choice if they remain silent, … isn’t it?

thoughtfully

yours,

Migdalit

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