Intership project SCHULWÄRTS! “This experience has made me a better teacher“

The project SCHULWÄRTS! gives students training to be teachers and young teachers the opportunity to teach for two to four months abroad. Ten former participants report here on their experiences – on differences, marvellous adventures, challenges, interaction with schoolchildren and intercultural skills.

  • Jennifer Ottenstroer, 24, studying to be a grammar and comprehensive school teacher, taught German and English in St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Jennifer Ottenstroer, 24, studying to be a grammar and comprehensive school teacher, taught German and English in St. Petersburg, Russia
    “Every experience abroad has brought me a step further. This personal development has also made me a better teacher. The pupils notice if you’re real, if you like teaching. In Russia, lessons consist in very small groups. I wish this were also the case in Germany. Teachers make more use of digital media. Working with tablets, whiteboards and TVs was an immense benefit for language teaching. It was good that the pupils had to talk German with me. They were very motivated and wanted to know everything about Germany.”
  • Quy Don Mac, 24, student teacher, taught German, biology and chemistry in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Quy Don Mac, 24, student teacher, taught German, biology and chemistry in Hanoi, Vietnam
    “I was hoping, because of my Vietnamese language skills, to get in touch better with the pupils and learn more of school life. This didn’t work out so well in biology and chemistry lessons because I lacked knowledge of the technical terms. Interaction with the children also wasn’t so easy at first. They saw me as very strict and needed to pay a lot of attention. But after I dressed up as Santa Claus and handed out cakes, I became “dear teacher”. I still have good contact with my colleagues there. Recently a teacher sent me a picture: a pupil had painted me as Santa Claus.”
  • Hannah Lenger, 23, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Hungary. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Hannah Lenger, 23, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Hungary
    “I liked teaching in Hungary much better. It’s less about methods and more about content. The teacher-pupil relation is warmer and more personal. My pupils sometimes applauded at the end of the lesson. They liked a lesson on German songs so much that they did the same thing with me about Hungarian songs. They compiled a complete work sheet with fill-in-the-blank questions and matching exercises. I thought it was so sweet that they wanted to give me something in return. I was often allowed to teach independently and this has made me more flexible and more relaxed as a teacher.”
  • Steffen Wübben, 26, is studying for his master’s in education and taught German in Salaya, Thailand. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Steffen Wübben, 26, is studying for his master’s in education and taught German in Salaya, Thailand
    “Since the pupils and the learning culture were totally strange to me, I quickly realized how important it is to align teaching with a target group. This of course is also true of teaching in Germany. Even before my stay I had a relaxed way of life, but my experience in Thailand reinforced it. I think it’s important that you have a sense of humour and that even in teaching you make something pleasant out of all situations. It was good being on my own: when you have to solve problems yourself, the experience is more formative.”
  • Merve Navruz, 23, studying to be a grammar school teacher, taught German and mathematics in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Merve Navruz, 23, studying to be a grammar school teacher, taught German and mathematics in Istanbul, Turkey
    “I was at an international school and the German mentality was very noticeable. I also sat in at two other schools. I was struck that in Turkey the pupil is the focus. In Germany, the teacher usually sets the solution process and the children have to reproduce it. In Turkey it’s different. I think it works better: the teacher should play a moderating role. And I can now better understand how it is when in the classroom cultures clash. The children should learn with and from one another.”
  • Janna Dinkel, 32, studied to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Guangzhou, China. Photo (detail) © private
    Janna Dinkel, 32, studied to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Guangzhou, China
    “I braced myself for passive, quiet pupils, but they turned out to be livelier than I expected. I had always to have breaks so that they all listened. The Chinese tend simply to talk above the babble because it’s not about getting the teaching to flow but rather only to impart the content. I tried to work interactively and to use German teaching methods. The pupils were very open. When I left I was inundated with letters and gifts. I still have e-mail contact to a pupil whom I trained for the German Olympics.”
  • Alexander Stalljann, 26, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Tianjin, China. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Alexander Stalljann, 26, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Tianjin, China
    “Teaching in China is very different. The teacher asks the questions and also gives the answers. The pupils only repeat what he says. There’s hardly any self-initiative because it’s thought inappropriate to draw attention to yourself and show how good you are. I played an icebreaking game with the children in which a ball is thrown to someone who then introduces his or herself. The shyness about expressing yourself, of saying something wrong, of participating in the lesson individually, was so great that they all dodged the ball. But I can now understand how it feels when you attend school in a country whose language you don’t speak.”
  • Kristine Bologa, 22, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Uppsala, Sweden. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Kristine Bologa, 22, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Uppsala, Sweden
    “Swedish manners are more relaxed than those in Germany. Teachers and pupils are on a first-name basis. There’s a pleasant atmosphere and more media are used than here. The school provides every pupil with a laptop. At first I found this strange because I didn’t know what the children did with it. But they use the laptops very sensibly – for instance, to look up words. For me, it was enriching to teach in a language that the pupils hadn’t perfectly mastered. And I think I too learned a lot from the experience.”
  • Josephin Hübscher, 27, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Beauvais, France. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Josephin Hübscher, 27, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Beauvais, France
    “Really great was an experience with a difficult Year Eleven group. They were supposed to play at going to a restaurant in Berlin. At first they didn’t want to, but in the end they were enthusiastic. It was incredible what they learned in so short a space of time. In France there are far fewer cooperative methods of learning. Teaching is teacher-centred and the school system is as a whole authoritarian. But I had the feeling that the parents work together better with the teachers than in Germany.”
  • Stefanie Elbracht, 23, is studying to be a teacher in special education and taught German in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Stefanie Elbracht, 23, is studying to be a teacher in special education and taught German in Istanbul, Turkey
    “Later I’m sure to have pupils with Turkish roots, so I thought it important to know something about the culture. For me, it very important to be open in dealing with other cultures. You shouldn’t necessarily assess certain ways of behaving as negative merely because you can’t immediately place them. Teaching in Turkey is in part less structured than it is here. But in this way pupils have more of an opportunity to be a child and don’t merely have to function. I learned to stay relaxed and have become more flexible because abroad you always run into unexpected situations.”
  • Jennifer Ottenstroer, 24, studying to be a grammar and comprehensive school teacher, taught German and English in St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Jennifer Ottenstroer, 24, studying to be a grammar and comprehensive school teacher, taught German and English in St. Petersburg, Russia
    “Every experience abroad has brought me a step further. This personal development has also made me a better teacher. The pupils notice if you’re real, if you like teaching. In Russia, lessons consist in very small groups. I wish this were also the case in Germany. Teachers make more use of digital media. Working with tablets, whiteboards and TVs was an immense benefit for language teaching. It was good that the pupils had to talk German with me. They were very motivated and wanted to know everything about Germany.”
  • Quy Don Mac, 24, student teacher, taught German, biology and chemistry in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Quy Don Mac, 24, student teacher, taught German, biology and chemistry in Hanoi, Vietnam
    “I was hoping, because of my Vietnamese language skills, to get in touch better with the pupils and learn more of school life. This didn’t work out so well in biology and chemistry lessons because I lacked knowledge of the technical terms. Interaction with the children also wasn’t so easy at first. They saw me as very strict and needed to pay a lot of attention. But after I dressed up as Santa Claus and handed out cakes, I became “dear teacher”. I still have good contact with my colleagues there. Recently a teacher sent me a picture: a pupil had painted me as Santa Claus.”
  • Hannah Lenger, 23, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Hungary. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Hannah Lenger, 23, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Hungary
    “I liked teaching in Hungary much better. It’s less about methods and more about content. The teacher-pupil relation is warmer and more personal. My pupils sometimes applauded at the end of the lesson. They liked a lesson on German songs so much that they did the same thing with me about Hungarian songs. They compiled a complete work sheet with fill-in-the-blank questions and matching exercises. I thought it was so sweet that they wanted to give me something in return. I was often allowed to teach independently and this has made me more flexible and more relaxed as a teacher.”
  • Steffen Wübben, 26, is studying for his master’s in education and taught German in Salaya, Thailand. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Steffen Wübben, 26, is studying for his master’s in education and taught German in Salaya, Thailand
    “Since the pupils and the learning culture were totally strange to me, I quickly realized how important it is to align teaching with a target group. This of course is also true of teaching in Germany. Even before my stay I had a relaxed way of life, but my experience in Thailand reinforced it. I think it’s important that you have a sense of humour and that even in teaching you make something pleasant out of all situations. It was good being on my own: when you have to solve problems yourself, the experience is more formative.”
  • Merve Navruz, 23, studying to be a grammar school teacher, taught German and mathematics in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Merve Navruz, 23, studying to be a grammar school teacher, taught German and mathematics in Istanbul, Turkey
    “I was at an international school and the German mentality was very noticeable. I also sat in at two other schools. I was struck that in Turkey the pupil is the focus. In Germany, the teacher usually sets the solution process and the children have to reproduce it. In Turkey it’s different. I think it works better: the teacher should play a moderating role. And I can now better understand how it is when in the classroom cultures clash. The children should learn with and from one another.”
  • Janna Dinkel, 32, studied to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Guangzhou, China. Photo (detail) © private
    Janna Dinkel, 32, studied to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Guangzhou, China
    “I braced myself for passive, quiet pupils, but they turned out to be livelier than I expected. I had always to have breaks so that they all listened. The Chinese tend simply to talk above the babble because it’s not about getting the teaching to flow but rather only to impart the content. I tried to work interactively and to use German teaching methods. The pupils were very open. When I left I was inundated with letters and gifts. I still have e-mail contact to a pupil whom I trained for the German Olympics.”
  • Alexander Stalljann, 26, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Tianjin, China. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Alexander Stalljann, 26, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Tianjin, China
    “Teaching in China is very different. The teacher asks the questions and also gives the answers. The pupils only repeat what he says. There’s hardly any self-initiative because it’s thought inappropriate to draw attention to yourself and show how good you are. I played an icebreaking game with the children in which a ball is thrown to someone who then introduces his or herself. The shyness about expressing yourself, of saying something wrong, of participating in the lesson individually, was so great that they all dodged the ball. But I can now understand how it feels when you attend school in a country whose language you don’t speak.”
  • Kristine Bologa, 22, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Uppsala, Sweden. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Kristine Bologa, 22, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Uppsala, Sweden
    “Swedish manners are more relaxed than those in Germany. Teachers and pupils are on a first-name basis. There’s a pleasant atmosphere and more media are used than here. The school provides every pupil with a laptop. At first I found this strange because I didn’t know what the children did with it. But they use the laptops very sensibly – for instance, to look up words. For me, it was enriching to teach in a language that the pupils hadn’t perfectly mastered. And I think I too learned a lot from the experience.”
  • Josephin Hübscher, 27, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Beauvais, France. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Josephin Hübscher, 27, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Beauvais, France
    “Really great was an experience with a difficult Year Eleven group. They were supposed to play at going to a restaurant in Berlin. At first they didn’t want to, but in the end they were enthusiastic. It was incredible what they learned in so short a space of time. In France there are far fewer cooperative methods of learning. Teaching is teacher-centred and the school system is as a whole authoritarian. But I had the feeling that the parents work together better with the teachers than in Germany.”
  • Stefanie Elbracht, 23, is studying to be a teacher in special education and taught German in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Stefanie Elbracht, 23, is studying to be a teacher in special education and taught German in Istanbul, Turkey
    “Later I’m sure to have pupils with Turkish roots, so I thought it important to know something about the culture. For me, it very important to be open in dealing with other cultures. You shouldn’t necessarily assess certain ways of behaving as negative merely because you can’t immediately place them. Teaching in Turkey is in part less structured than it is here. But in this way pupils have more of an opportunity to be a child and don’t merely have to function. I learned to stay relaxed and have become more flexible because abroad you always run into unexpected situations.”
  • Jennifer Ottenstroer, 24, studying to be a grammar and comprehensive school teacher, taught German and English in St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Jennifer Ottenstroer, 24, studying to be a grammar and comprehensive school teacher, taught German and English in St. Petersburg, Russia
    “Every experience abroad has brought me a step further. This personal development has also made me a better teacher. The pupils notice if you’re real, if you like teaching. In Russia, lessons consist in very small groups. I wish this were also the case in Germany. Teachers make more use of digital media. Working with tablets, whiteboards and TVs was an immense benefit for language teaching. It was good that the pupils had to talk German with me. They were very motivated and wanted to know everything about Germany.”
  • Quy Don Mac, 24, student teacher, taught German, biology and chemistry in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Quy Don Mac, 24, student teacher, taught German, biology and chemistry in Hanoi, Vietnam
    “I was hoping, because of my Vietnamese language skills, to get in touch better with the pupils and learn more of school life. This didn’t work out so well in biology and chemistry lessons because I lacked knowledge of the technical terms. Interaction with the children also wasn’t so easy at first. They saw me as very strict and needed to pay a lot of attention. But after I dressed up as Santa Claus and handed out cakes, I became “dear teacher”. I still have good contact with my colleagues there. Recently a teacher sent me a picture: a pupil had painted me as Santa Claus.”
  • Hannah Lenger, 23, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Hungary. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Hannah Lenger, 23, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Hungary
    “I liked teaching in Hungary much better. It’s less about methods and more about content. The teacher-pupil relation is warmer and more personal. My pupils sometimes applauded at the end of the lesson. They liked a lesson on German songs so much that they did the same thing with me about Hungarian songs. They compiled a complete work sheet with fill-in-the-blank questions and matching exercises. I thought it was so sweet that they wanted to give me something in return. I was often allowed to teach independently and this has made me more flexible and more relaxed as a teacher.”
  • Steffen Wübben, 26, is studying for his master’s in education and taught German in Salaya, Thailand. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Steffen Wübben, 26, is studying for his master’s in education and taught German in Salaya, Thailand
    “Since the pupils and the learning culture were totally strange to me, I quickly realized how important it is to align teaching with a target group. This of course is also true of teaching in Germany. Even before my stay I had a relaxed way of life, but my experience in Thailand reinforced it. I think it’s important that you have a sense of humour and that even in teaching you make something pleasant out of all situations. It was good being on my own: when you have to solve problems yourself, the experience is more formative.”
  • Merve Navruz, 23, studying to be a grammar school teacher, taught German and mathematics in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Merve Navruz, 23, studying to be a grammar school teacher, taught German and mathematics in Istanbul, Turkey
    “I was at an international school and the German mentality was very noticeable. I also sat in at two other schools. I was struck that in Turkey the pupil is the focus. In Germany, the teacher usually sets the solution process and the children have to reproduce it. In Turkey it’s different. I think it works better: the teacher should play a moderating role. And I can now better understand how it is when in the classroom cultures clash. The children should learn with and from one another.”
  • Janna Dinkel, 32, studied to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Guangzhou, China. Photo (detail) © private
    Janna Dinkel, 32, studied to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Guangzhou, China
    “I braced myself for passive, quiet pupils, but they turned out to be livelier than I expected. I had always to have breaks so that they all listened. The Chinese tend simply to talk above the babble because it’s not about getting the teaching to flow but rather only to impart the content. I tried to work interactively and to use German teaching methods. The pupils were very open. When I left I was inundated with letters and gifts. I still have e-mail contact to a pupil whom I trained for the German Olympics.”
  • Alexander Stalljann, 26, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Tianjin, China. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Alexander Stalljann, 26, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Tianjin, China
    “Teaching in China is very different. The teacher asks the questions and also gives the answers. The pupils only repeat what he says. There’s hardly any self-initiative because it’s thought inappropriate to draw attention to yourself and show how good you are. I played an icebreaking game with the children in which a ball is thrown to someone who then introduces his or herself. The shyness about expressing yourself, of saying something wrong, of participating in the lesson individually, was so great that they all dodged the ball. But I can now understand how it feels when you attend school in a country whose language you don’t speak.”
  • Kristine Bologa, 22, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Uppsala, Sweden. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Kristine Bologa, 22, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Uppsala, Sweden
    “Swedish manners are more relaxed than those in Germany. Teachers and pupils are on a first-name basis. There’s a pleasant atmosphere and more media are used than here. The school provides every pupil with a laptop. At first I found this strange because I didn’t know what the children did with it. But they use the laptops very sensibly – for instance, to look up words. For me, it was enriching to teach in a language that the pupils hadn’t perfectly mastered. And I think I too learned a lot from the experience.”
  • Josephin Hübscher, 27, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Beauvais, France. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Josephin Hübscher, 27, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Beauvais, France
    “Really great was an experience with a difficult Year Eleven group. They were supposed to play at going to a restaurant in Berlin. At first they didn’t want to, but in the end they were enthusiastic. It was incredible what they learned in so short a space of time. In France there are far fewer cooperative methods of learning. Teaching is teacher-centred and the school system is as a whole authoritarian. But I had the feeling that the parents work together better with the teachers than in Germany.”
  • Stefanie Elbracht, 23, is studying to be a teacher in special education and taught German in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Stefanie Elbracht, 23, is studying to be a teacher in special education and taught German in Istanbul, Turkey
    “Later I’m sure to have pupils with Turkish roots, so I thought it important to know something about the culture. For me, it very important to be open in dealing with other cultures. You shouldn’t necessarily assess certain ways of behaving as negative merely because you can’t immediately place them. Teaching in Turkey is in part less structured than it is here. But in this way pupils have more of an opportunity to be a child and don’t merely have to function. I learned to stay relaxed and have become more flexible because abroad you always run into unexpected situations.”
  • Jennifer Ottenstroer, 24, studying to be a grammar and comprehensive school teacher, taught German and English in St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Jennifer Ottenstroer, 24, studying to be a grammar and comprehensive school teacher, taught German and English in St. Petersburg, Russia
    “Every experience abroad has brought me a step further. This personal development has also made me a better teacher. The pupils notice if you’re real, if you like teaching. In Russia, lessons consist in very small groups. I wish this were also the case in Germany. Teachers make more use of digital media. Working with tablets, whiteboards and TVs was an immense benefit for language teaching. It was good that the pupils had to talk German with me. They were very motivated and wanted to know everything about Germany.”
  • Quy Don Mac, 24, student teacher, taught German, biology and chemistry in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Quy Don Mac, 24, student teacher, taught German, biology and chemistry in Hanoi, Vietnam
    “I was hoping, because of my Vietnamese language skills, to get in touch better with the pupils and learn more of school life. This didn’t work out so well in biology and chemistry lessons because I lacked knowledge of the technical terms. Interaction with the children also wasn’t so easy at first. They saw me as very strict and needed to pay a lot of attention. But after I dressed up as Santa Claus and handed out cakes, I became “dear teacher”. I still have good contact with my colleagues there. Recently a teacher sent me a picture: a pupil had painted me as Santa Claus.”
  • Hannah Lenger, 23, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Hungary. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Hannah Lenger, 23, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Hungary
    “I liked teaching in Hungary much better. It’s less about methods and more about content. The teacher-pupil relation is warmer and more personal. My pupils sometimes applauded at the end of the lesson. They liked a lesson on German songs so much that they did the same thing with me about Hungarian songs. They compiled a complete work sheet with fill-in-the-blank questions and matching exercises. I thought it was so sweet that they wanted to give me something in return. I was often allowed to teach independently and this has made me more flexible and more relaxed as a teacher.”
  • Steffen Wübben, 26, is studying for his master’s in education and taught German in Salaya, Thailand. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Steffen Wübben, 26, is studying for his master’s in education and taught German in Salaya, Thailand
    “Since the pupils and the learning culture were totally strange to me, I quickly realized how important it is to align teaching with a target group. This of course is also true of teaching in Germany. Even before my stay I had a relaxed way of life, but my experience in Thailand reinforced it. I think it’s important that you have a sense of humour and that even in teaching you make something pleasant out of all situations. It was good being on my own: when you have to solve problems yourself, the experience is more formative.”
  • Merve Navruz, 23, studying to be a grammar school teacher, taught German and mathematics in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Merve Navruz, 23, studying to be a grammar school teacher, taught German and mathematics in Istanbul, Turkey
    “I was at an international school and the German mentality was very noticeable. I also sat in at two other schools. I was struck that in Turkey the pupil is the focus. In Germany, the teacher usually sets the solution process and the children have to reproduce it. In Turkey it’s different. I think it works better: the teacher should play a moderating role. And I can now better understand how it is when in the classroom cultures clash. The children should learn with and from one another.”
  • Janna Dinkel, 32, studied to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Guangzhou, China. Photo (detail) © private
    Janna Dinkel, 32, studied to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Guangzhou, China
    “I braced myself for passive, quiet pupils, but they turned out to be livelier than I expected. I had always to have breaks so that they all listened. The Chinese tend simply to talk above the babble because it’s not about getting the teaching to flow but rather only to impart the content. I tried to work interactively and to use German teaching methods. The pupils were very open. When I left I was inundated with letters and gifts. I still have e-mail contact to a pupil whom I trained for the German Olympics.”
  • Alexander Stalljann, 26, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Tianjin, China. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Alexander Stalljann, 26, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Tianjin, China
    “Teaching in China is very different. The teacher asks the questions and also gives the answers. The pupils only repeat what he says. There’s hardly any self-initiative because it’s thought inappropriate to draw attention to yourself and show how good you are. I played an icebreaking game with the children in which a ball is thrown to someone who then introduces his or herself. The shyness about expressing yourself, of saying something wrong, of participating in the lesson individually, was so great that they all dodged the ball. But I can now understand how it feels when you attend school in a country whose language you don’t speak.”
  • Kristine Bologa, 22, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Uppsala, Sweden. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Kristine Bologa, 22, is studying to be a grammar school teacher and taught German in Uppsala, Sweden
    “Swedish manners are more relaxed than those in Germany. Teachers and pupils are on a first-name basis. There’s a pleasant atmosphere and more media are used than here. The school provides every pupil with a laptop. At first I found this strange because I didn’t know what the children did with it. But they use the laptops very sensibly – for instance, to look up words. For me, it was enriching to teach in a language that the pupils hadn’t perfectly mastered. And I think I too learned a lot from the experience.”
  • Josephin Hübscher, 27, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Beauvais, France. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Josephin Hübscher, 27, student teacher at a grammar school, taught German in Beauvais, France
    “Really great was an experience with a difficult Year Eleven group. They were supposed to play at going to a restaurant in Berlin. At first they didn’t want to, but in the end they were enthusiastic. It was incredible what they learned in so short a space of time. In France there are far fewer cooperative methods of learning. Teaching is teacher-centred and the school system is as a whole authoritarian. But I had the feeling that the parents work together better with the teachers than in Germany.”
  • Stefanie Elbracht, 23, is studying to be a teacher in special education and taught German in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo (detail) © Andrea Gehwolf
    Stefanie Elbracht, 23, is studying to be a teacher in special education and taught German in Istanbul, Turkey
    “Later I’m sure to have pupils with Turkish roots, so I thought it important to know something about the culture. For me, it very important to be open in dealing with other cultures. You shouldn’t necessarily assess certain ways of behaving as negative merely because you can’t immediately place them. Teaching in Turkey is in part less structured than it is here. But in this way pupils have more of an opportunity to be a child and don’t merely have to function. I learned to stay relaxed and have become more flexible because abroad you always run into unexpected situations.”

Schulwärts!

The international project Schulwärts! (i.e. School Caretakers!) offers student teachers and young teachers from Germany the opportunity to gain international experience in a two to four month internship and strengthen their intercultural skills. The students give the pupils and foreign teachers where they are staying a picture of contemporary Germany and get the chance to shape their teaching independently and organise extracurricular projects and events.