A German pupil at Afra Primary School

CORFU. Article by Bettina Trabert

December / 2019

Max is 9 years old. He started school in Freiburg in Germany but since Easter he has been attending Afra Primary School - and he loves it!

"The teachers here are very good and the lessons are more interesting, he says. "In Germany we usually work on our own but here we discuss things a lot morewith each other."

With a German mother and Greek father max has grown up bilingual. At first he found Greek spelling rather difficult but now he enjoys writing as well: "Only the differenti and o are difficult. These don't exist in German."

History is his new favourite lesson - they didn't have it in German primary school. "As a half-Greek I like to learn about ancient Greek history. Our teacher explains things to us so well that it's really fascinating."

IT and Drama aren't included in regular lessons in German primary schools either. "We once put on a small play there, but the one in Afrawas much more interesting. I would like to play a bigger role next time."

In Germany there are only four years in primary school. Pupils then have to choose what kind of secondary school they want to go to - each type has a different curriculum. The primary schools are facing many problems: a lack of teachers, large classes and a lot of foreign kids who don't have the necessary language skills yet. Many teachersare overburdened and the quality of teaching suffers - especiallyfor more advanced pupils who would like to progress further.In the larger towns many better-off families send their children to private schools.

"I was often bored in Germany," says Max. "The exercises were very easy and everything was repeated a lot of times. We had to wait until the last child had understood. Here in Afra there is always something new to learn and whoever has questions can always ask the teacher."

In Environmental Studies Max likes that the children can prepare something by themselves at home and then present it to the class. He also enjoys the school's environmental activities very much. Important issues such as the garbage problem aren't just talked about theoretically in class but something practical is done as well –once the whole school went to Glyfada to clean up the beach.

Besides, there was a demonstration as part of the ‘Fridays for Future’ youth climate movement with a lot of the placards being made at school. The school has a lot of green space and a garden where pupils can grow vegetables - just recently five new trees were planted. Max really enjoys working with plants. "It's much nicer than the German school, where there was just an asphalt playground."

For Max learning at Afra School is great fun. He has a lot of interests and so he also has many ideas about what he will do in the future. But recently he expressed a new idea for a future job: "Teacher– and of course at Afra School!"

Bettina Trabert