5 things I learned about High School

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone

-Pink Floyd

After six months at my american school I can definitely tell some differences about schools in Germany and the US. Of course, every school is different and has its perks and disadvantages, but I can say that I really like Cal High. The following facts are related to my school and not to every american High School even if some might be similar.

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1. Perfect timing

My School starts at 8.50 a.m.. For me that’s great because I hate waking up early. We have six different classes total (mine are 1-Chemistry, 2-Dance, 3-Algebra 2, 4-English, 5-World Civ and 6-German TA), but only three per day. Mondays and Wednesdays are the odd numbers, Tuesday and Thursday the even numbers, and Friday is an all-period day. On block days each class is 110 minutes and on Fridays it’s only 52 minutes. It sounds long but they days go over way faster and I don’t have to focus on too many different things. We have more time for homework as well. School ends at 3.12 p.m..

 

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2. Hanging out

Ok, so cliques are probably the biggest stereotype about High Schools. My experience is that of course people who do the same sport hang out together, not because they don’t like everyone else, it’s just the easiest way to make friends. Each of your classes has a completely new set of students so it’s harder to bond. Also, there is no one like Regina George who rules the school (or maybe I just haven’t met her yet). I mean, there are always people who are more popular than others, but I think that is normal.

 

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3.  Passing classes

The grading system here is totally different that the one in Germany. You get points for EVERYTHING and you turn everything in to the teacher. There are more small quizzes and tests but only one bigger exam at the end of each semester. I would say, grades here are more about making the effort to do all your work than actual knowledge. I am sure it depends on the level of classes you take, but thinking for yourself is not that important. The most difficult thing for me is participation. First, of all it is only five percent of the grade so you can not really bring up your grade. I am a person who is usually better at participation that writing exams. I am the foreign girl that sounds funny now, so I don’t like speaking that much anymore. Even more, because nobody has to raise their hand, you  can just shout out the answer and their is is no way I can become comfortable with that. One thing I like about the grading though is that you can constantly check your grade online and know exactly what you can do to bring it up.

 

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4. It’s huge

About 3000 people are going to my school. Obviously, the campus is A LOT bigger than my school in Germany. Thanks to SoCal, it’s an outdoor school. There are roughly 30 building with about four to six classrooms each. After each class you change rooms walking through the sunny weather of L.A.. I really enjoy being outside so much. Rainy days are hilarious, because all the students are freaking out and trying to hide somewhere. The school also has a library, two gyms, two pools, a band field and soon their own football stadium. The food possibilities are endless.

 

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5. Go Condors

School spirit is the biggest thing over here and that is also the biggest difference to Germany of all five facts. School here is so much more than just education. It’s so much more personal and about supporting the students.There are so many ways to get involved, be part of the “family” and most of the people are proud of it. I wish schools in Germany would only be a little bit like that. I don’t want to say too much, because a separate blog post about that spirit is in planning.


 

There are many more things I learned, especially on a personal level. Some things you probably know already, some might be new and surprising. I think you can get a pretty good impression about the way I see High School. It would be interesting to hear other opinions about the five topics so feel welcome to comment.

 

 

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