Frank Fischer (30) is a teacher of English, geography and philosophy/ethics at a grammar school in Bavaria. Already as a student he knew that he would like to become a teacher one day. For "abi," he talks about his daily work, what challenges the job brings, and what real life is like as a teacher.
W hen I think back to high school, I can say that I especially enjoyed school during that time. I have always been interested in many subjects and I found it very exciting to learn something new. As a student, I thought I had a clear idea of what teaching was like, since I had to deal with teachers on a daily basis for 13 years. But students only perceive what goes on in school. Most of the actual work is invisible to them. This includes, for example, preparing for and following lessons, fulfilling functions such as the timetable creator or taking care of the school newspaper.
Fiction and reality
The media’s portrayal of the teaching profession does not make it any easier. In series like "The Teacher" you rarely see anything about bureaucratic activities. In addition, teachers often have an intense relationship with their students. They help them with any difficulties, such as juvenile delinquency, disputes in the clique or love stories. Of course, a healthy relationship between teachers and students is important. For example, elementary, middle, and special schools have the class teacher principle, which means that teachers teach a large part of the lessons in the class itself. In high schools, on the other hand, we have the subject teacher principle, which means there is a different teacher for each subject. Accordingly, the intensity of the relationship with the students differs.
We all know different types of teachers from our school days and have a clear picture of them in our minds. These characters are picked out for series or films and in my opinion often heavily overdrawn. For example, the teachers in the "Fack ju Gothe" film series, where the whole range of teacher types are involved. The result is a very funny movie, but the portrayal is usually not realistic, because no teacher would throw paint at his students or even have them chipped like a dog to control them. If, on the other hand, a film were to permanently show how much a teacher sits at his desk, viewers would at worst fall asleep.
Real life as a teacher
My job is enriching, I get a lot back from my students every day. In the upper school, for example, you can be extremely technical as a teacher and really go into depth with certain topics. The nice thing is to discuss with the young adults at eye level – that’s incredibly fun for me.
But of course there are challenges. There is for example the point working time. With intensive pre- and post-processing as well as corrections, I may well end up with 50 hours of work per week.
Mixture of pedagogy and professionalism
What also cannot be underestimated is that as a teacher, I am the center of attention every day. This is mostly very nice and fun, but if you have a bad day and are not in a good mood, you have to function just as well.
I would always choose teaching as a profession again, because I particularly like the mixture of pedagogical work and professional demands. The goal at the end of a lesson for me is that my students have understood the topic, they take it with them out of the classroom and ideally have learned something for their lives.