How do I relive school life

The PASCH online school newspaper from Central Eastern Europe

A contribution by
Patricia von Mellenthin Adriána Tarajová
P.O. Hviezdoslav High School Dolný Kubín

From a German to a Slovak school

When I arrived in Slovakia more than three months ago, I suddenly found myself facing myself. Less than a year ago I went to school myself, now I experience everyday school life from the other side.

Now, however, I am attending a different school in a country that was quite unknown to me until a few months ago, and within the grammar school P. O. Hviezdoslava in Dolný Kubín I take on a different role than at the grammar school in my hometown Augsburg. As a lecturer, I return to everyday school life for six months and help the German teachers with their lessons.
On the whole, school is school, but there are actually some major and minor differences that I have noticed.

The first differences can be seen in the buildings. If you walk through the corridors of my new school, you walk through its history. All graduating classes are held for eternity with pictures on the walls. That really touched me, because the students themselves left something lasting in the place that shaped them for years. I would have liked something like that for my old school. The classrooms here look unusually cozy. At the P.O.H. In high school, the classrooms are set up much more individually. One of the reasons for this is that the “class” rooms are not assigned to a school class, but to a teacher. All rooms bear the teacher's personal signature. As is so often the case, it's the little things that make the big difference here. For example, there are pen boxes and a calendar on the desks, and snapshots of the school family hang on the wall next to the Slovak flag. In Germany, the classrooms are usually kept neutral. Younger classes at most decorate the windows in winter, but from the higher grades the most personal thing you can find in your classroom is the poster from the last lecture.
Everyday school life is also different here than in Germany. I really like the fact that there are short breaks after every lesson. This allows students to relax between subjects and not rush from one class to the next like I did. The price for this, however, is that school starts at 7:30 a.m. and not at 8:00 a.m. as in most schools in Germany. So a few things haven't changed - my morning: I'm still struggling with the alarm clock as much as ever.
It was unusual for me to see the students walking through school in slippers - something that reminds me of my primary school days. Another difference is that at the end of a lesson a gong does not just sound, but a short song is played. This makes the school a place where you feel comfortable.

The P.O.H. is much smaller than my old school, so the relationship within the school is much closer. The size of the school enables the teachers to promote the students very individually. A luxury that I usually know from private schools or from a few particularly committed teachers in Germany. Despite the family atmosphere in the school, the relationship between student and teacher is very respectful on both sides.
Going back to school is a special experience for me and I am fascinated by my extremely ambitious students every day. My direct exchange with the students is what I enjoy most here and what I will miss very much when my voluntary service at the P.O.H. High school comes to an end.