Global Teachers Germany 2017: Day Nine

Orientation | Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven | Day Eight | Day Nine | Follow-Up

Day Nine

On the final full day in Germany, the delegation did independent field study and Challenge by Choice activities. For some participants, they saw Munich the way many do: by bike.

Some teachers explored the city by tram or subway.

Other participants saw the city by foot.

And others took in the city’s finery.

All in all, according to the delegation, the program achieved what it set out to: a new understanding of the global educational community and renewable energy.

Global Teachers Germany 2017: Day Eight

Orientation | Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven | Day Eight | Day Nine | Follow-Up

Day Eight

Day eight started with a sobering tour of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. Located outside of Munich, Dachau was the first concentration camp opened in Germany and was intended for political prisoners. The classification of prisoners changed in 1935 as new groups, including LGBT individuals and immigrants, were sent to the camp. The camp was liberated on April 29, 1945 and opened as a memorial site in 1965. Approximately 800,000 visit the memorial site each year. The Global Teachers delegation found the visit “powerful and emotionally challenging” and unforgettable.

Shane Dagenhart looked at the experience through a history teacher’s lens.

As a history teacher I always try and bring the past to life. I always try and put myself back into historical situations to have a better understanding of the events to help teach my kids. As I did that today, my heart broke. There were moments that I didn’t want to look back at this history. How could human beings do this to others?

North Buncombe High School teacher Ben Graham reflects on the emotions of not only traveling to Dachau with Global Teachers, but the feelings of traveling over all that he wants to bring back to his students.

In the afternoon, the delegation visited the Deutsches Museum, a museum that focuses on science and technology that hopes to “inspire people to play an active role in shaping the future.

They even found a bit of North Carolina in the museum!

Global Teachers Germany 2017: Day Seven

Orientation | Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven | Day Eight | Day Nine | Follow-Up

Day Seven

The delegation left Freiburg and headed east to Munich, the capital of Bavaria and third-largest German city. There they visited BMW, where they learned about the the company’s apprenticeship program.

BMW’s approach:

Olivia Hall, Assistant Vice Principal for Salemburg Elementary School and Roseboro Elementary School, was amazed at the independence of the apprentices, and German school children in general.

Sweet sixteen.

Thanks to my freshly printed driver’s license, I was free to travel on my own for the first time without my parents. I imagined I was just on the cusp of becoming an adult. I was discovering my identity and making plans for the future.

I remember these days of newfound independence and knowingly laugh at all that I had yet to learn.

Yet, my tour guide today, a young apprentice at the BMW factory, shared how he applied for the program while attending Realschule (the upper vocational school) and moved almost 100 miles across Germany to live alone in an apartment at the ripe age of sixteen.

This is not unusual in German culture.

In Germany, independence and personal responsibility is taught from a young age and is part of the social fabric of the country. When visiting the primary school a few days earlier, I noticed a sign instructing kindergarten parents to kiss their students good-bye at the school door. I discovered young German schoolchildren walk or ride their bikes to school unaccompanied by an adult. In conversation with one of our guides, she shared how she studied abroad alone in South America at just seventeen.

At BMW, the company trains young adults and trusts them to perform well. The Junior Company alone netted over a million dollars last year by selling marketing products, and a team of apprentices helped design a new vehicle model that will be in production next year. Throughout the program, which lasts two years or more, students cycle through many job titles as they learn their strengths and hone their talents.

BMW trains future employees and fulfills their social responsibility, all while the school and community benefit. Time is spent at both the company and the school, and trainers ensure students receive all the support they need.

Today, however, no trainers were in sight. Instead, the apprentices lead the presentations, the tour, and discussion.

Our entire group was impressed.

As one presenter stated, “Many students enter the program at the age of sixteen and are very timid. However, when the apprentices finish the program, you do not recognize them. They have grown into proud, young professionals.”

I have always believed that young adults are capable of doing great things when expectations are high. Maybe embedding this type of training would allow American teens to expect more than a driver’s license on their sweet sixteen.

Anthony Johnson shares his video documenting Day 6 and 7.

Go Global NC Days 6 & 7 (JohnsonvilleWorldTour) from Anthony Johnson on Vimeo.

Global Teachers Germany 2017: Day Six

Orientation | Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven | Day Eight | Day Nine | Follow-Up

Day Six

The day began with a presentation by the Center for Teacher Education at the University of Freiburg. The university was founded in 1457 and is the fifth-oldest university in Germany. During their time at the university, they also toured the University of Education.

Megan Petrizzi of Efland-Cheeks Global Elementary School had this to say about what they learned from presenter Sybille Schick:

It is worth reflecting that no system is perfect — we may have some things to learn from Germans (I am blown away by the timeliness and self-driven responsibility of schools and students here) but they can also learn from us (perhaps our differentiation and inclusion styles in the majority of American classrooms). Read more.

The delegation then continued their education on Germany’s sustainability efforts with a presentation from Freiburg’s Department of Ecology about the intersection of ecology and education.

The group ended the day in St. Peter, a small village in the Black Forest, which is among the most energy-efficient villages in Germany. The village produces its own energy via solar, wind, and water energy, as well as other renewable technologies.

Marydith Beasley, first grade teacher at Pathways Elementary School, reflects on Germany’s sustainability efforts.

Global Teachers Germany 2017: Day Five

Orientation | Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven | Day Eight | Day Nine | Follow-Up

Day Five

Another school visit started the delegation’s second day in Stuttgart. This time, the school was Eschbach-Gymnasium Stuttgart-Freiberg. While in the United States, gymnasium generally means a place for physical education, in Germany it’s a type of secondary school. Eschbach-Gymnasium is renowned for its use of technology in the classroom and for its teaching of STEM-topics. In addition to a tour of the school and the opportunity to sit in on classes, the teachers also presented to students about North Carolina and have conversations about the differences in the educational approaches.

Carla McSwain of South Stanly High School and Shanna Mustin of Andrews High School shared their thoughts on what they witnessed:

Our visit to Eschbach-Gymnasium Stuttgart-Frieburg, an ocean and continent away, revealed that teenagers are more alike than different. They dress alike, they giggle at goofy adults, and many shy away from speaking in front of groups. But clearly there is a fascination with Americans — as evidenced by an incident in the classroom we visited. Read more.

After a few hours at the school, the delegation left for Freiburg to visit Vauban, a well-known energy-efficient neighborhood, and tour it with Innovation Academy E.V., a nonprofit organization that is recognized as an official project of the United Nation’s World Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. the organization gave the teachers a personal tour of the area.

Jeanne Morris of Valley Springs Middle School and Mary Faulk of Jonathan Valley Elementary School share their view of trust’s role in Germany’s schools.