German school is truly terrifying sometimes. Like, for example, when a boy forgot his homework and the teacher simply stated, “Your ship is going down and I am NOT going to save you.” All I could think was, “Damn, ok then.” And like the time I was in biology class, ready to play with microscopes, and the teacher handed me a razor blade. What the heck am I supposed to do with that? We used them to cut the onion skin which we then put under the microscope, but still. In American high school, they don’t even like to give you scissors. The teachers in Germany are generally more formal than in the U.S. and the students act much more professional. In Germany, school feels like work in the sense that the students are responsible for themselves, and they act accordingly. Teachers do not baby the students, and the students do not want to be babied. I’m in class with students one to two years younger than me and sometimes they make me feel as if they are the oldest.
My schedule is different every day of the week and some days I’m only in school for 3-4 hours. Some classes I have almost everyday, some classes I only have once a week. These are my classes: math, english (during which I take private German lessons instead), Deutsch, religion, biology, chemistry, informatik, sports, music, history, and politics/economics. I generally don’t understand anything in my classes and the teachers allow me to work on German instead. If they didn’t I think I would die of boredom. I have made friends with all of the exchange students, and I’ve even become friends with about five Germans. The language barrier makes this hard, but we enjoy each other’s company all the same.
The biggest thing that shocked me about German school is that you don’t need an ID to get in. All of the students can come and go according to their schedule, and no one checks you or an ID at the door. Coming from America, this seems insane, considering my school’s high level of security that includes ID checks, occasional bag checks, and armed police officers. However, this high level of freedom that has allowed me to leave school and go shopping on my free period makes sense. In Germany, it is very difficult to obtain a gun. When I’ve told Germans about the U.S.’s gunlaws, they are always shocked, as they should be. Now when I reflect on how easy it is to get a gun in the U.S., I’m frankly disgusted. Why should I have to be afraid to go to school? Why should we have to teach 5 year olds about protocol for a school shooting? Why should I have to move halfway across the world just to be away from the startling reality that is school shooting culture? Now it seems to me that American school is the truly terrifying place to be. I, to be completely frank, would rather have the right to live than the right to own a gun.