I hope you don’t hate me after reading this (or rather, Part 2), but, to be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me.
I have very strong opinions on everything concerning education, education and school systems, and how important all of that is or should or shouldn’t be.
I have been arguing about my points of view with quite a lot of people, but I wanted to explain why I think that way and combine everything on one place, namely on this blog.
So, here we go.
I’m going to start with myself, and with something “easy”:
The German Education System
Why did I use “easy” to describe our school system? It doesn’t fit at all. I think it’s quite complicated here, but I think that it is good this way. You have many opportunities to get to the point where you want to go, to get the degree you want to have and that is pretty awesome.
You enter school at the age of 6 and go to elementary school for 4 years at first.
In 4th grade you have to choose between 3 school to which you can go afterwards:
The Hauptschule, the school with the “lowest” educational standards. You are there for 5 years and graduate after 9th grade.
The Realschule, the school with a little higher educational standards. You are on this school for 6 years and graduate after 10th grade.
The Gymnasium, the school with the “highest” educational standards. On this school you are for 8 or 9 years – depends on your state in Germany – and graduate after 12th or 13th grade.
On all three different schools you can choose between your subjects, not so much on the Hauptschule (I think you can choose something, I just don’t remember what), once on the Realschule in 6th grade (maths, business, french/spanish/italian/etc or something creative, for example art, maybe even music) and three times on the Gymnasium (first between Latin and French in 6th grade and later again between two languages for 8th grade and then you can drop some subjects for 11th grade).
(I have to throw in here that how your school is built and which possibilities you have depends strongly on your state. There are so many different systems in Germany, and I’m just explaining here how it is where I live. As I said, complicated.)
You finish the Gymnasium with the Abi, which is basically A levels – or whatever it is called in your country – and you can go to university with that.
When you graduate from Hauptschule or Realschule you can’t go to university right away, but you might when you make your A levels afterwards, through going to the Gymnasium or another school – more practically oriented, with work experience included, called Fachoberschule or FOS – and make your A levels that way.
Or you can of course start to work. In Germany we have a special system for apprenticeships/trainings, and as far as I know it is unique in the world and kind of famous. During an apprenticeship you go to school (“professional school”, here it’s called Berufsschule) AND work in a company, therefore you have practical and theoretical experience. And you of course earn money. With a finished apprenticeship you can go to another practically oriented school, Berufsoberschule or BOS and make your A levels there, in a shorter time.
There are some other paths you can choose, for example go to a school for a special job where the training is only in schools.
Or learn on a language school, where you are also trained for a certain job and you can later become a translator – that’s something I took into consideration before I finished school.
My education and where I am right now:
I went to the Realschule after elementary school. Then I chose French after 6th grade because I liked languages (I still do, a lot) and found it interesting. And last year in July I graduated with actually pretty good grades. I think I handled school quite well. I could have gone to the Gymnasium and made my A levels but I just didn’t want to, because I didn’t want to have more stress and longer days in school. I think I’m the only one I’ve ever heard of who could have gone to the Gymnasium easily but didn’t and I don’t really know why. I just wanted it that way so I did it.
In 9th and 10th grade I had to choose what to do after school. At first I wanted to continue school, go to the FOS and get my A levels, but soon I realised that I got tired of school and want to do something else, earn money.
So, I decided to apply for an apprenticeship at some small and big international companies. And after months of applying and job interviews I finally got accepted and I’m now very happy in my company and I think I can learn a lot there. I learn interesting things – also boring stuff and things I don’t like, but that’s always the case – but I have a lot of English lessons and I’m getting a special degree in English (if I pass the test in two years).
But I’m not completely happy. Professional school is very boring and I’m not very interested in the stuff I’m learning, except English and the few IT stuff. I’m not very motivated to do anything for school, but I should be. I need more or less good grades so that I can shorten my apprenticeship (from 3 to 2,5 years) and I have to do that because my English qualification is only 2,5 years long and I would have a problem otherwise.
I hope I’m getting the hang of it and manage to get the grades I need and want.
But what to do afterwards?
If everything goes well I’m finished with my apprenticeship in exactly two years. And I have so many possibilities what I could do, but I don’t know what I really want.
Do I want to go on working in my company? I really like it there and I maybe have the chance to work in a cool department, but I don’t know if I like working that much.
Do I want to go abroad? The answer is yes, but when do I want to go? Right after the apprenticeship might not be the right time – or I’m too scared to do it.
Do I want to carry on with school and get my A levels? Probably not, but I could and then go to uni or continue working.
I don’t know when I should decide and that is slightly freaking me out. I really want to go abroad, to New Zealand and Australia I think, for around 6 months, do some Work & Travel. I hope I’m confident enough for that.
And I hope that I know what I want to do in a year or so, so that I can prepare for whatever my choice is.
I’m gonna leave it with that and start ranting in my second post about this topic, but this post is getting way too long, I’m very sorry.
What is your path through school? What do you want to do, what opportunities do you have?
See you soon ❤