By the end of May, all students in Berlin should have gone to school at least once. In the Hermann Sander primary school in the social focus of Berlin-Neukölln, the fourth grades now had their first day.
NewsABC.net accompanied a Berlin primary school teacher. By the summer vacation, her goal is to re-establish a relationship with the children.
The teacher heard little or nothing from some of the students. She is very concerned that many have been left behind.
She went through the whole list of children from grade 4 again. Has informed the parents about WhatsApp that their children can come back to school for the first time today. Only a girl’s parents didn’t reach her. “No connection under this number” came from the receiver. The last time she saw Sarina * was when she personally drove past her a few weeks ago. Since then nothing. She hasn’t given up any homework. Elementary school teacher Luisa Gorki * is nervous, constantly typing on her cell phone while one student after the other comes in.
By the end of May, all students in Berlin should again
have gone to school at least once. In the Hermann Sander primary school
have been in the social hotspot Berlin-Neukölln in the past two weeks
the 1st, 5th and 6th grade there again. Today is the fourth class.
Around three million pupils are said to be affected by the educational deficit
The students weren’t here for more than seven weeks because of Corona. A long time in which the teachers and social workers keep calling, writing or dropping by, but often do not reach everyone. There is great concern that many have been left behind. The German teacher association estimates that around three million schoolchildren will be affected by the educational deficit caused by the Corona period. Girls and boys from difficult social backgrounds and poor families are particularly affected. At the Hermann Sander School, over 90 percent of the students come from families who don’t speak German. And almost a third do not have a German passport. Sarina’s parents come from Romania and live in sheltered accommodation for refugees.
Luisa Gorki starts the PC in the classroom and sets the screen background with a few clicks. Then she laughs mischievously. The children see what they are calling on the whiteboard in front of the board: a rainbow. Next to it is written in black letters ‘Nice that you are here again’. She stole the picture from another school and cut off the logo below, she says.
“The actual learning is not in the foreground, but to build a relationship again”
At 30, Luisa Gorki is one of the younger in the teaching team. Blonde little curls, gold hoops and blue-pink Adidas sneakers. Her eyes shift back to the cell phone. Still no news from Sarina. She calls out to the educator who supports her in the class: “Can you call again? I haven’t reached her yet. ”Then she hands out green and red cards. The children are asked to vote immediately if they ask them 13 questions about the Corona period. Red stands for “No”, green for “Yes”. The first days of school should be about finding out how the children were doing and where they need help. “The actual learning is not in the foreground, but to build a relationship again,” says Luisa Gorki.
A girl named Shirin * sticks her tongue out and holds her hands to her head to imitate a clown. Then she blows out of her mouth. – “That’s how my sister made me out to eat, that’s why we always quarreled because she’s completely cheeky.” Then she laughs and the eight children around her giggle. Shirin belongs to the first group of the 4th class, the second, Sarinas group, comes 90 minutes later so that the distance between the tables can be kept.
The mood is exuberant, everyone is whispering, laughing, screaming or telling about their latest discoveries “Have you tried bubble tea?” Asks a girl who is constantly covering her face with brown streaks. “No, but I tried raw canned dough at Rewe,” replies Julie * from the back corner of the classroom. She proudly holds up the can and explains where it can be found in the supermarket. Jakub * calls: “And I lost a tooth.”
If families do not report during the Corona period, social workers or teachers come by personally
Students will come back to school two to three days a week. In between there is still homework. While other schools in Germany provide lesson sheets online or even change the entire lesson, the teachers of the Hermann Sander primary school print out worksheets for collection at school. They want to make sure everyone does their homework – in some families there is no internet, let alone printer, tablet or laptop. If the parents do not pick up the material or do not report, the social workers or teachers of the Hermann Sander School will drive by personally.
“When I didn’t hear from Sarina after three weeks, I went there by bike,” says Luisa Gorki. There she saw the parents for the first time, they had never been to school before. They gave her a new phone number, the cell phone had been stolen. But since yesterday, this number has also stopped working. “If she doesn’t show up for class today, I have to report it to the school station,” says the teacher. Even before the school closed, the girl was missing for several days. Once she was even in Romania. Luisa Gorki then reported the case to the youth welfare office.
“We have many large families who live in confined spaces. This can lead to conflicts more often ”
On the first floor, director Regina Löffler sits behind a large desk. Short brown hair, round glasses. It is important that the school opens again, she says. “We have many large families who live in confined spaces. Mom, Dad, four children in three rooms. This can lead to conflicts more often, ”she says. It also includes single parents.
Many children don’t even have their own jobs in the home. The school helps: It can relieve the parents – and give the children a familiar environment for learning. Löffler estimates that around a third of the children have not done anything for school in the past seven weeks because of the lack of home support.
Meanwhile Luisa Gorki has changed the classroom. There are nine tables available for the second group of the 4th grade. On one side of the tables is a white cross made of plastic tape, on the other is a student. There are eight children, Sarina is the only one who has not shown up. “At the moment, I can’t do more than report missing school to the school station,” says Gorki. There is not much time to worry.
Julius *, one of the children from the new group, already tells what happened to him during his time without school. “I was afraid of my mother because she always yelled at me when I just got up from the sofa or didn’t do my homework. But if someone yells at me: Then I come with my shoe and hit it. ”-“ But you didn’t hit your mom? ”Asks Luisa Gorki. – “Yes,” replies the 10-year-old, “once in the Corona vacation.” The teacher looks at him seriously.
Julius is slim, wearing gray sweatpants and a light-dark green striped T-shirt with a military look. His ash-blonde hair hangs on his pale face. His mother is a single parent, earns her money with cleaning, his father is unknown to the school. He sits leaning back in his chair and grins uncertainly around.
“I’ll take children like Julius out again later and dig,” says Luisa Gorki later during the break. She doesn’t think the situation was as dramatic as Julius described it. When Gorki “digs”, she asks simple questions about the daily routine. Some children wanted to distinguish themselves with their stories in class, while others had real problems behind them. When Gorki gets stuck, the school station steps in. Then the social workers continue digging.
When Gorki asks who was bored during the Corona period, Julius raises a green and a red card. His answer: “Half, half. Sometimes I had to do homework, so I didn’t feel like it. When I played Playstation, I wasn’t bored. ”-“ Did you do anything other than play Playstation? ”Asks Luisa Gorki. “Nothing,” replies Julius. His mother would have slept elsewhere. He liked it a lot because he was able to gamble until midnight. He also “cooked” himself in the evening: bread with Nutella.
There are students in almost every class, of whom teachers have not heard anything during Corona
After class 4 is over, Luisa Gorki sits in the dark classroom and unpacks her scrambled egg rolls from the bakery. She has an hour’s break. Then it continues as a substitute teacher in the 6th grades. “Corona is actually an ideal situation,” she says. Disputes were eliminated by the distance rules; it was less work because she only had to teach German and math. In addition, she can look after the children in divided classes much better. But she can only look after those who come. Unfortunately, there were a few students in almost every class, of whom the teachers had not heard anything during school closure despite calls or messages.
Sarina didn’t have until the end of class
reported. A day later, her sixth-grade sister calls it
gave a corona case in the refugee accommodation. The whole family is in
* The names of the children and the teacher have been anonymized.