Crown and school – between grades and needs – your SZ

SZ design: Denis Metz

Regarding “School for Shame” of February 17 and “Problem Zone of Germany” of February 11:

Too short-sighted

It is undisputed that during the pandemic many things did not go optimally in schools and in all other areas of society. But instead of taking a differentiated look at the current situation of schoolchildren tied to the crown, Vera Schroeder paints a silhouette-like picture of extremes: before Corona, teachers did the “most grueling job in the world,” as the author states. , completely exaggerated. “Then came the pandemic” and presumably they morphed into curriculum fulfillment machines that – “whatever happens” – force children to “carry on” and “ruminate all the time.”

In the last two years my daughters have been able to experience that there are many teachers involved: the elementary teacher who corrected on the weekend during the lockdown and returned the notebooks with individual feedback and a pack of gummy bears. The teachers who in a very short time set up Microsoft Teams for the whole school, making online teaching possible in all subjects at the very beginning of the pandemic. The teachers who saw the concerns and needs of the children during the online, alternating and face-to-face lessons and accompanied them with great empathy. Not everyone has, but a surprising number have.

Did not the breaking of performance records and the generous promotion program over the past two years contribute to the fact that the less intrinsically motivated students were less able to come together to learn? Does the proposal to suspend grading for two years actually widen the gap between children who receive little support from home and privileged children from often highly educated families? What happens to the degree classes? Should they turn to training companies, companies and universities with expert advice? Are more psychologists, therapists and students enough to help children fill gaps in their knowledge and prepare them for graduation? Significantly, Ms. Schroeder is no longer asking for teachers – “on a large scale and long term”. How short is that thought?

What do interested parties say about the proposal? My seventh, ninth, tenth and eleventh graders rejected it. Their justifications have shown that, in my opinion, they assess their own school situation, learning processes and motivation questions much more realistically and far-sighted than the author does. You should ask the children and young people and listen to them.

Andreas Rothheimer, Munich

Social training would be important

My body couldn’t decide between nodding, goosebumps and tears while reading. You are right in everything you write. It should be the editorial, front page, great. It is a mystery to me why this topic is so far from public discussion. Measured against all the families in Germany who went through school during the pandemic, we are probably an ideal family: we live in the countryside, we have a house with a garden (so enough exercise). We have a grandmother who is a retired elementary school teacher (which she was good at explaining and retrieving). My husband and I can work flexibly (none of our children have ever had to be alone or in emergency care) – the best conditions to keep two school-age children mentally healthy and politely stable during the pandemic.

However, a year ago our son suddenly developed anxiety disorder, suffered from massive panic attacks and could no longer go to school at the end of fourth grade. Nothing worked anymore, no longer sitting alone, eating, sleeping, fear was everywhere and at all hours of the day. After months of searching and waiting, we have secured a place for therapy and to our great luck it is slowly stabilizing again. Now he is going to a new school, has made new friends, can get on the school bus in the morning, can sleep alone again at night. He is about to become a happy ten-year-old boy again. And now he’s received a report card evaluating his he last six months. To be more precise, what he was able to deliver in exam situations under pressure to be carried out after weeks of distance teaching, quarantine breaks, substitute hours due to infected teachers. Not to mention all the other private restrictions and failures of the good things in life that weigh heavily on the psyche of children. I wonder: how significant is a grade compared to everything the children have been through? And does this classification really help?

In our son’s school there is one “social training” class per week, which is led by a social worker. A great thing that should build and strengthen exactly what children so urgently need: self-esteem, acceptance of weaknesses, mutual respect, empathy, resilience, good cooperation in the group. But in one lesson out of 30 per week? Until our country understands that the priority here is completely wrong, I have little hope that our children will get through this period well. The pandemic would have been a historic opportunity to transform our education system.

Caroline Hintervictor, Fahrenzhausen

courage is lacking

Seldom has anyone written from my soul like Vera Schroeder. As for the demands made on school children, the pandemic and its sometimes dire family consequences and the profound insecurity that comes with it, apparently do not exist. When asked about the sometimes noticeable gaps in knowledge that many children have, the only thing that came to our school director’s mind was that the teaching material from the last school year had been completely covered. Ah. A thousand thanks. As if what happened at school in the last 24 months was even remotely comparable to normal operations.

But no: children must give birth, and without jokes. I can only confirm what Schroeder writes about launching “semi-finished mentoring programs under understaffed conditions”. There is a lack of courage everywhere, and especially in the Ministry of Education, to do what is really right: no grades, no failures, just drop the material, dare something else, catch the children. Give the children time to start talking to each other again. Give teachers time to clean up curriculums for their subject and adapt them to the pandemic. Time to get back the lost children. Nothing like that happens. Instead, you frantically cling to what you want to sell as normal and demand performance. And go on. It’s to cry about.

Benita Goodman, Munich

halved classes

It’s nice that you always stood up for us teachers. I do exactly the same thing with the press in front of my students. It saddens me even more when they now expect us to stand up for our students and resist grading. This is exactly what a large number of colleagues, including myself, do. And, as befits public employees, through official channels. We often get opposition from our superiors, as they seem to have been instructed by theirs to create as many “meaningful” votes as possible. Teachers are therefore the wrong contact persons.

I don’t remember ever being asked about school reform. They are said to be developed by teachers. However, rarely by those who are employed full time in active school service. The suggestion from fellow teachers would probably be to start by spending decent money and halving the classes. Before that, I don’t have to worry about concepts, curricula or even skills. And yes, this requires buildings and personnel. Apparently children aren’t worth that to us. They only interfere with maintaining the economy or a career and at the same time should bear the brunt of the pandemic. However, it’s not cool at all.

Christian Ludt, Monk

No relaxation for students

On February 15, the Bavarian state government and the conference of prime ministers on February 16 decided to relax the crown regulations. Contact restrictions are loosened, 2G or 2G-plus regulations are removed, and more spectators can participate in sporting and cultural events again. And in schools and kindergartens? Non-existent relaxation. The only thing that is decided regarding children and teens is nothing less than the obvious: children and teens receive the same 3G status as long as they are regularly tested as schoolchildren. And so the Bavarian state government is finally meeting the requirement of the Standing Commission on Vaccination that the social participation of children and young people must not depend on their vaccination status. Should we be happy with this “generosity”? I have no joy.

Prime Ministers Markus Söder, Hendrik Wüst and others are calling for so-called basic crown protection measures to also apply in schools after March 20. This means tests and masks until the end of the day for schoolchildren. And this with a disease that hardly poses a threat to them. Here is a comparison: since March 2020, 156 children and adolescents have been treated in intensive care due to Covid-19 (source: German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases, DGPI, as of February 13), i.e. within two years. In 2021 from March to May alone, around 500 children and adolescents were treated in intensive care due to suicide attempts.

There is no need for “safe” schools and children who have to prove they are not sick three times a week. We need schools that learn and live again, without rehearsals, without masks, with excursions, work groups between classes, unrestricted sports and music lessons and school trips. Children must finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Children must no longer be mistreated by the state for the freedom of adults. This is exactly what pediatricians are asking because the measures do more harm to children and teenagers than a corona infection.

Ulrike Petry-Färber, forchheim

whining at a high level

There is no doubt that the pandemic is currently putting a strain on students, parents and teachers. But to speak of “a lost generation”, as some say, is grossly exaggerated. It was no different for the war children and in some cases it was much worse. Between 1945 and 1947, the lessons were largely canceled. Then it took place in overcrowded classrooms with up to 50 students and baton teachers, whose history lessons ended in 1933. But it is this generation that has made a decisive contribution to the social and democratic development of our state. Without them, the essential reforms to which subsequent generations have become so accustomed would not have been possible. The current generation of children will also go their own way, as people are still adaptable and capable of learning.

I notify

Letters to the editor are by no means expressions of opinion of the editors, they can be abbreviated and published in all editions and channels of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, both printed and digital, always indicating the name and surname and place of residence.

Write your contributions with reference to the respective SZ article to forum@sz.de. For articles that have appeared in the local and Bavarian sections of the SZ, please send your opinion directly to forum-region@sz.de.

Please provide your address and telephone number if you have any questions. You can reach us by post at Süddeutsche Zeitung, Forum & Leserdialog, Hultschiner Str. 8, 81677 Munich, by fax on 089 / 2183-8530.

Dr. Dietmar Nickel, Munich

Leave a Comment