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Teaching From Home – A True Story About a Teacher’s Day in Germany, March 2020

Published 3 April 2020

At IST we strive for people to learn more, every day. This goes for everything we do, and during this time with the Corona crisis it seems like we – now more than ever – need to help each other to learn more.

Many professions are making a heroic effort to help make this “state of emergency” we are experiencing as normal as possible, especially for all our young and hopefuls. Of particular interest to us is, of course, the teachers.

We have a lot of contact with teachers at IST and we are very impressed by the way they handle the situation. Together, we hope to make the best out of an impossible situation in order to allow our children to learn more.

With schools being closed in three out of the four countries in which IST operates, and high schools closed in the fourth, we want to tell the stories of these everyday heroes – the teachers. They were encouraged to share how they cope with the situation. Perhaps we can learn from each other and be inspired across countries.

In Germany, we talked to Katharina, who teaches high school students in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Katharina, teacher in Düsseldorf, Germany.

What are your greatest challenges regarding teaching remotely?

My main challenge is to get the lessons going, because I simultaneously have three children at home I must keep busy. I need to do all my lesson preparations in the evening, but then I’m tired, too. Finding the teaching material is not the problem, but if I had more time I would be able to make everything a bit nicer and maybe even find tasks that the students can do online, interactively. Now I think that they must work in the books.

How do you keep in touch with the students?

By email. We send the tasks with all the information to the parents. The high school students usually already have e-mail addresses themselves but there are teachers who only want to discuss the results with the class after the Easter holidays, when everyone is back. I said that I would let them work on individual tasks and I specified which results they should send me now.

Do you think the digital infrastructure is in place to teach remotely?

No, not really. At our school, things have gotten a little better because we finally have a working wifi and we now have great smartboards available in our new building, on which you can project the pictures of the tablets. But we are far away from being up to date. Most of the rooms still provide the good old overhead projectors and whiteboards.

What is your biggest concern regarding children actually learning something?

The grading. The greatest effort is to provide the students with tasks. I think it is strange that the district government says that none of the things the students are learning and doing from home right now should be included in the evaluation in the end. Then the students have no incentive to work properly at home, and secondly, it is not motivating for teachers to know that they will have to do it all over again when the Corona crisis is over. I think that if we decide that the students should work for school at home, then this must also be allowed to be assessed, so that we can give fair grades in the end. I am concerned about overwhelming the students with too many tasks. Of course they should do something, but in these times I think it is just as important that they do not lose their good mood if they are now locked up at home. They also need some leisure time.