We spent our final day in Stuttgart, Germany touring a secondary school and presenting a lesson to a class. The school is called the Eschbach Gymnasium and Realschule. The Eschbach Gymnasium (secondary school) is renowned for its use of technology in the classroom and for its teaching of STEM topics. The school even has goats and a pizza oven. I found that even though it is a STEM school with a focus on technology, there was not technology in the classroom at all - no computers, iPads, iPods, or laptop for a teacher. He had a chalkboard and an overhead projector. I was very shocked! The instructor (who was a 5th grade teacher) was shocked that we had so much! The students wanted to know about technology and what students got to do with it. They were able to speak pretty good English. Many students were shocked that we start at 9:15 and finish at 3:45. They thought it was a very long day. Germany is talking about extending the school day to full days in the coming years. Students participate in sport clubs after school. My favorite part of the trip so far has been touring the schools. I find it fascinating how similar, but very different we are. One thing that really stuck out is how responsible the students are in Germany. When they have their break, ALL students venture out to play or visit without the supervision of hardly any teachers. A bell rings when the break is over and instantly the kids line up to go back inside the school. Another interesting observation, teachers leave the classroom to change rooms to teach another class. All kids stay put in the same room. The teacher moves to them. Kids stay in the room unsupervised for a brief moment. This made me a little uneasy, but I was impressed with how much responsibility is expected of the students.
I am excited to take my students on this journey with me. I am eager to bring back the German history and culture and connect this with our curriculum. My intent is to learn more about the advancements with Germany's renewable energy and help my students and Willow Springs Elementary imagine different futures and the role that they can play in the world.