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Summer, Sun, Carl-Sonnenschein - Our FSJ in Germany

The Berlin summer is here and we have been back in Germany for about three months.

Lately we had various tasks to work around 8 hours a day. We gave online tutoring, sewed masks and supported siblings with online lessons.

But since two weeks we have a reason to leave the house again, real work and a regular daily routine. We work at Carl-Sonnenschein elementary school in Mariendorf. The project "LernBrücken" is a 12-week cooperation between Visioneers and the school. The aim of this is to support children with a migration background or many siblings of the school years 1-6. Especially these children are not able to deal with online tasks or weekly schedules in the last weeks without proper lessons.

Our tasks at the “LernBrücken”

So we do old tasks with the children, correct the edited pages and, in the best case, start with current weekly plans. Due to the current situation, the children normally only have lessons every second day. Then they come to us on the other day. Every day a new colourful mixture of all class levels, ethnic groups and learning levels are created. Some of them need a lot of support because their parents are illiterate and it is very difficult for them to get help at home or because they are still learning German and therefore do not understand the tasks and lack vocabulary. Some of the children work on the tasks quiet for themselves, others are unmotivated and make noise. Others only work if you sit next to them all the time and the next ones are quiet but hardly do anything. So every morning it is a challenge to divide the groups in a way that creates a positive learning atmosphere. Mostly we divide ourselves into two or three groups, one group is between 3 and 6 people. Once you have managed to get everyone working, you have to correct all, so you always have something to do and therefore, although the groups are relatively small, you are always really done after 5 hours of work.

Fun with the children

But it is really nice to see that there are boys and girls who are really looking forward to us. Parents as well as teachers or educators have already told us several times that some of them really enjoy “LernBrücken”. How did we manage that? We have a few aces up our sleeves. Not only we do motivate the pupils with enough sweets, Visioneers also provided us with tablets that the children can use when they have done their work properly. But not only the children, we also enjoy the project. The 1st - 5th graders always manage to make you laugh or surprise us with some absurd stories about their relatives.

So you can say that we continue to find fun and enthusiasm in our work here in Germany, even though our voluntary service has definitely developed differently than expected.

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