Why isn’t the vacation time shortened, Mr. Himmer?
sky: You have to change the basic concept, the basic idea of school, not just shorten the vacation time. The expectations of many parents have also changed in recent years. There is a grading scale and I’m quite a critic of grades…
The reason for this?
sky: Because grades do not focus on the nine ones, but on the one three in the certificate. And that is exactly the question: what is being measured? The intelligence, skills? Or is it not the case that I call up a performance that all children in the class are supposed to do at the same time on a specific date?
Then there is the heterogeneity, the diversity that has increased enormously in a classroom: languages, culture, expectations. The school system is set up like this: It is responsible for 36 weeks, which unfortunately is still very often part-time and parents have to study with their children anyway, otherwise it won’t work. And until a few years ago, how the holiday season was organized was almost exclusively in the hands of parents or families. Now there is a tentative attempt to find compensation for the last two weeks of school with the summer school. But the whole thing cannot be solved with just a few small measures.
How should it look?
sky: The school solves what others do in 52 weeks in 36. You can change that. But that doesn’t mean that the same person has to be in the classroom for 52 weeks. It’s about the fact that there are teams – in the rest of the professional world that sounds like dinosaur times. It needs a multi-professional team from social work, from support, from pedagogical work, from leisure work. That’s the only way I can play for 52 weeks. This does not mean that children have to be in school for 52 hours. Of course you need free time blocks.
Pitterle: I also believe that this will be necessary nationwide. Especially after the pandemic, we see that the topic of which location I work from has changed a lot. And many are moving out of the city. The working models will therefore be more closely aligned. I also think to myself, what does it do to the children if they have to take private tuition in elementary school because otherwise it wouldn’t work out? What does that have to do with the joy of learning? I have a feeling it’s getting more and more.
sky: The pressure is also increasing from the parents. They don’t want to spoil the children’s chances. The children already feel the pressure in elementary school. You then define yourself more and more through grades. I want to look at how long you stay in a job where the boss is behind you all the time and says, “You’re doing badly.” And that’s how many students feel.
How likely is it that what you propose will be implemented, Mr. Himmer?
sky: It just needs the political will. The path has been taken and it will come sooner or later. The question is, how do we now go from conviction to implementation?
One last question for everyone: What should the systems optimally look like?
Kromer: I would like the same dose of education spread over a longer period of time. I would like to say one more thing: I worked in intensive care for a short time during the pandemic and I know how we were celebrated. My greatest respect goes to the teachers who have looked after our children so well during this pandemic. They also belong celebrated. My kids can read and I wasn’t there much. My children can write and I was rarely at home. And also how intimate this relationship has become between teachers and students during this time. I am very thankful for that.
Pitterle: I would like the school system and the childcare system to come closer to the demands that the world of work entails. We are facing a major shortage of skilled workers and we are losing a lot of resources as a society because people cannot devote themselves to their jobs to the extent that they would like.
sky: First, school should empower children to be able to make what they want out of their lives. Educators should find a workplace in the school that exists in many companies in the 21st century, with much more flexibility and opportunities. Thirdly, school should take place in school and should not also become the main topic in the family and should not be a major burden on financial possibilities. This distorts educational opportunities even more.