1. Teachers do not have a set classroom like the do in the US. German teachers instead travel around from class to class. Their home base is a teacher’s lounge.
2. Teachers dress much more informally in Germany. The standard outfit of a teacher is the American version of a causla Friday dress of jeans and a t-shirt.
3. The class schedule is crazy! Instead of the same class at the same time everyday of the week, the same classes are taught at different times and on different days.
4. Breaks between classes are much longer in Germany than in the US. While in the US a high school teacher may typically have one planning period with five minute hall breaks in between, in Germany the teachers have no planning period but there is around twenty minutes between each classes. Keep in mind that the classes sometimes last an hour and a half though.
5. Teachers can teach only a few classes or they can teach multiple classes. Sometimes their last class might end at 1 and they are free to leave or sometimes it might end at four. This is different from the US where each teacher has the set amount of classes.
6. There is far less access to technology in Germany than in the US. Most teachers only have chalkboards to write on and there are only a few computers in the whole school.
On the surface, Germany and the United States’ have very different educational systems. However, I have been more amazed at the similarities. I went to Germany expecting teaching strategies along with the teachers and students themselves to be completely different. What I have discovered is that good teaching equals good teaching anywhere in the world. Good teachers care about their students and about their material. Good teachers are constantly seeking to find strategies to engage and connect with their students. Good teachers collaborate with other teachers and steal ideas from many resources. The conversations that I have had with the German teachers have been identical to conversations with American teachers. The teachers have discussed ways to hold all students accountable for learning, they have sighed over multiple classes to prepare for with little time, and they have talked about different effective teaching strategies. A constant flow of money along with a flood of paperwork for teacher accountability can be pumped into the educational system, yet what makes for good education is simply good teaching and good teaching comes from good teachers who care for their students and their work.