Why are high school teachers so tired
High school in USA
Svenja - Oklahoma, Marlow
Svenja is spending a school year in Oklahoma and is one of our partial scholarship holders in 2016/2017. During her time in the USA she wrote three reports - the first she wrote shortly before Christmas.
My year abroad in the USA
I'm Svenja, I'm 15 years old and I'll be living in Oklahoma in the USA or more precisely in the small town of Marlow for the next few months and I'll be going to school here until May 2017 and hopefully experience a lot! How my "high school life" is here and what I have already experienced so far will hopefully help you to get a more precise picture of what a year abroad in the USA could be like and to help you decide on such a great adventure!
When I boarded the plane in Düsseldorf at 10:50 am on August 5th, I was of course very nervous because from now on I was on my own, totally excited about what was going to happen, sad to have my friends and family behind me To have to leave, overjoyed to finally be able to start my journey after all the work, but also somehow proud of me to have actually decided on such a huge adventure. And much more. What goes through my head and probably all exchange students at such a moment is probably indescribable.
My first flight from Düsseldorf to Atlanta was about 10 hours. After arriving in Atlanta and going through customs, I actually felt pretty lost at first because the airport is really huge. But after annoying a few employees with my sometimes quite stupid questions, I finally arrived at the entrance to my gate on the right train (and yes, that was also new for me: with a train or rather to cross an airport with a subway. First I arrived at the level of my gate, walked in the wrong direction and was allowed to drive back again: D) and was able to breathe deeply for the first time. I had just arrived in the United States of America, after all, and was only a short flight and hours away from my host family.
In Atlanta I had a fairly long stay of about 5-6 hours and during that time I ate something at the airport, started writing my travel diary, preparing for the next flight and, above all, being careful not to fall asleep at the gate. When my plane was finally ready at around 8 p.m. local time, I was dead tired, because I had been up since early in the morning, had already experienced so much, in Germany it was at home in the middle of the night or early in the morning and I was just too excited to sleep on my first flight: D.
When I arrived in Oklahoma City late in the evening, I was welcomed by my host family. When we finally got to the house at about 11.30 p.m., I was shown everything and I took a shower and then went straight to bed and spent my first night in my new American home.
The next day, my first real day in the US, I spent with my host mother and a couple of her friends; we drove to Texas together, which is about 1.5 hours away, and went to a mall. When we got home late in the evening, I was totally tired from all the impressions and all the questions, but it was really fun to talk about all kinds of things in Germany!
Since my school was newly built and is currently being modernized, classes only started about 2 weeks after my arrival, which is why I still had a lot of time to discover everything. In the following days I spent a lot of time with my family and, for example, was shooting with my host father and a friend (but to be completely honest, I didn't dare to shoot myself), I was with my brothers for the first time I played the famous "catch" (throwing and catching with the glove of a baseball, which is a lot of fun) and finally went to my school to hand in all my documents and register.
My school is Bray-Doyle High School. It's a very small school; There are around 100-120 students in the entire high school, which is really very little, but I really like it! (For comparison: In my German school there are around 180 students in one level alone.) There are a different number of students in each level, but the average is 30-35, in my “Sophomore” level it is 26. That sounds like it very little and it is, but it's really great to experience this difference above all!
Because on the day when I got the information about my school, I was really happy that I was going to experience something different, but still I was a little unsure how it would be like that and whether it would not be difficult To make friends. But it wasn't a problem at all to get to know everyone here, because in the individual courses students of all courses and levels (i.e. 9-12, but in most only 10-12) are mixed, which makes it much easier to get to know everyone and it's just great to have courses with older students too.
Probably also because my school is very small, everything here is very familiar and warm, and it really is the case that everyone knows everyone and then also the parents and grandparents ... And a total of many are somehow related to everyone and at my school are also some students whose parents are elementary school or high school teachers.
My school has very few teachers, which is why there aren't too many subjects and there weren't many compulsory subjects that I had to take. After a couple of the teachers helped me explain what was being done in the subjects (as I didn't know some of them from Germany) and gave me tips on which ones were fun (which in the end turned out to be not that helpful which is why I changed a little in the first week of school) my schedule looked like this:
- 1st period: English 2
- 2nd period: Touring Oklahoma (history, nature, sights etc. in OK)
- 3rd period: Geometry (math with an emphasis on geometry)
- 4th period: Spanish
- 5th period: Ag / FFA (Agriculture in Oklahoma)
- -Lunch break-
- 6th period: Speech and Drama
- 7th period: U.S. History
- 8th period: Athletics / basketball (formerly softball)
My favorite course is probably U.S. History, because I especially like the students in my class, but also the teacher. Even if it is by far the most difficult subject for me, as a certain basic knowledge is required and all the English terms are not that easy, it is very interesting!
By the way, I recently got my first degrees, i.e. grades, and had an A in every course, except for English, where I had a B and in U.S. History a C ... but well, it can only get better, and it will from week to week, especially in U.S. History, which makes me particularly happy! But in Athletics I got 100 out of 100 points :)
Classes run from 8:05 a.m. to 3:20 a.m. and each lesson is 45-55 minutes long, I don't know why that varies, but actually doesn't really stand out. Between every lesson, with the exception of lunch break, we have 5 minutes to change classrooms or buildings. However, everyone who does sport at the school stays longer at the school; for me it was always like this with softball until 4 a.m. since I've been playing basketball, I've stayed at school until 5 a.m. For the football players it is often until 6.30 a.m. ...
Lunch break is 30 minutes long; All high school students and the teachers eat in the cafeteria at our school, as we are not allowed to leave the school premises. And since we got a new food supplier a month ago, the food has been really good too.
What is probably the most different at my school from German schools are probably the classrooms, as well as the teachers. I think this is also "unusual" for my school, but some teachers have something like a more modern "hut" next to the actual new high school building in which they teach, which maybe just for the transition until everyone Teachers can move into the new high school building, which is currently under construction. But even the normal classrooms themselves are decorated by many teachers for Halloween, for example, or there are self-painted pictures on the walls, about which the teachers regularly tell stories when they come to class with new decorations.
The teachers, or rather the relationship between teachers and students, is very different. What one of my teachers put it quite well in my opinion (which is of course not always the case) is that the teachers in Germany mostly only do their job and don't care about their students and that is completely different in the USA. For example, on my first day of school, after introducing herself, my English teacher told us that whenever we need something, she can try to help us or get it ...
She gave examples like a new toothbrush when our little siblings threw them in the loo, or my touring Oklahoma teacher handed out notebooks and pens to those who had problems getting things for school and my U.S. History teacher regularly shares his food with hungry students: D All in all, the teachers are very caring and ask students if they look like something has happened, what's going on, whether they can help them and often persist the lessons with each other, which the students are happy to accept (but that does not mean that there are only constant problems at my school, on the contrary: D).
On the day I registered at the school, I got to know the softball team at my school, because my host mother had kindly spoken to the school before I even arrived to see if I could join the team. I started training the next day and had my first games shortly afterwards. (For those who don't know, softball is just as simple as baseball, which is usually played by women and has a few different rules.) I've met a few girls from high school, which is why I was the first Fortunately, the school day wasn't that lost.
The softball season has been over for about a month, but almost all the girls and I started basketball that same week. Shortly after the end of the softball season, the football season also ended, which I found a shame because I really enjoyed going to the games and just came out at the School Spirit's Game Days, and often a large part of it School came to cheer for the games.
What surprised me in particular, and what I really like, is that in the morning at school, most of the students and teachers wore team football t-shirts and the football players wore their jerseys too. In the last hour on the Friday before the Home Games there was always a “Pep Rally” in the gym. All students from the entire school come to the gym, where the football players, the cheerleaders and the band are already waiting. Short speeches are then given by players and coaches to motivate everyone to come and cheer, competitions are held and small games are played.
3 other exchange students go to my school, a girl and a boy come from Germany and a girl comes from South Korea, she moved from another high school to ours. I have made very good friends with the other German girl and we are very close friends, which wasn't so easy at first. Because we were both not really adjusted to other exchange students and especially not to German, which is why we had to get used to each other at the beginning, so to speak.
That was it with my first post; I've already experienced a lot in the first few months and I'm looking forward to the next time that is still ahead of me. Even if I am already totally sad that I will soon have to leave everything behind and “only” have 6 months left to go.
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