I know the summer holidays have only just started and you probably don’t even want to think about school for the next couple of weeks, but now is the time to get yourself ready and prepared for the new school year. Although Amy won’t start school for another year, seeing all the back to school offers in supermarkets always sends me back down memory lane which is why I loved sharing some of my fondest school memories over on Asda’s Life and Style blog.
I’ve written a little bit about going to school in Germany before, but talking about my school time made me think that it would be fun to share my some of the questions I was asked by the guys from George at ASDA:
About my time at school:
1. Do you remember your first day at nursery/primary/secondary school?
I can’t remember my first day at nursery, but I very much remember my first day at primary school.
I grew up in Germany, so things were a little different than they’re done in the UK. There’s a massive celebration for your first day at primary school, with a ceremony for the new students and a programme performed by older students of the school, before you officially meet your tutor and walk to the class room with them. It’s always done on a Saturday as parents and grandparents are invited as well and you usually make a big day out of it. Everyone gets a Schultüte, which is a massive card board cone filled with school supplies and treats and they’re almost as big as the students themselves. It’s a really memorable event and I don’t think any child ever forgets about it. I can even remember every single that was in my Schultüte, it was that exciting!
My first day at secondary school had a bit of a Harry Potter touch. All new students were lined up in front of the school building and our principal read out all our tutor groups, no not Hufflepuff or Slytherin. It was the first time we got to meet our tutor and classmates and it was the day that I was reunited with my best friend from nursery. We weren’t in the same class in primary school, but we were inseparable until we took our A-levels and we’re still friends now – 12 years later.
2. Do you remember being nervous on your first day?
No, I was super excited about starting school. I couldn’t wait to get to meet my teacher and classmates.
3. Do you still keep in touch with anyone you met on your first day? Describe your relationship.
Yes, I’m still friends with my best friend from nursery, Sissy. We were literally inseparable during nursery and secondary school. We sat together in every single class and still managed to talk for hours on the phone as soon as we got home. We practically lived at each other’s houses, went on holiday together and had sleepovers all the time. We lost touch during our time at university, but when I moved back home, we got back in touch. We spend a lot of time chatting on What’s App, some things never change, and we try and get together as often as we can.
4. Did you take a packed lunch with you on your first day? Can you remember what you used to have?
School started pretty early for me: The first lesson started at 7.20 in the morning, which was an absolute pain, but we were done for the day by 12.45, so we always had a breakfast break instead of a traditional lunch break. A lot of kids had lunch at home, but there was also the option to have a warm lunch at school before you left to go home. The food was okay, but I’ve got the most horrid memories of spaghetti with meat balls that actually tasted like fish.
5. Did your parents do anything to prepare you for your first day at school? Have you done the same things for your kids or have you prepared them differently or at all?
I was obsessed with the idea of school, so we talked a lot about rules, responsibilities like homework and packing my school bag and we also practised the way to school. Both my parents had to leave for work early, so I had to catch the school bus with most of the other kids every morning. It sounds much scarier than it was as there was always an adult there for supervision, but we had to make sure we got to the bus stop on time and get on the right bus.
Amy won’t have to catch a bus as we live in walking distance of the school campus. Kindergarten, primary school, two secondary school, two gyms and a football stadium and athletics tracks are all really close together, so that makes things a little easier for her. I’m walking her there every morning and I will for the next couple of years as I’m lucky enough to work from home. Before Amy started kindergarten, I was a little worried because she still didn’t speak German very well and she had never been away from me during the day, so I tried to hype it up as much as possible by telling her about all the new friends she’d make and the fun things she’d do and luckily, she absolutely loves going.
About school today :
6. Do you pack a lunch for your kids?
No, all kids have a warm lunch at Amy’s kindergarten. There is no other option, which I think is a good idea to ensure that all kids have at least one warm meal a day. We only send in some fruit or veg each day which the kids eat during their fruit break. Their teacher collects the fruit at drop off and then cuts it up for the entire group, so all kids can choose what they want to eat.
7. What are your thoughts on school lunches? How are they compared to when you were at school?
I can’t really judge the quality of the food as I haven’t tried it myself, but there’s definitely more variety compared to when I was at school. We usually had potatoes, meat and vegetables, sometimes pasta whereas Amy gets stuffed peppers, Chinese sweet and sour fish or turkey breast with tomato and mozzarella.
8. Do you think bullying is more of a problem today than it was when you were at school? Have you given your kids any advice on how to deal with bullying?
I definitely think bullying is more a problem today than it was when I was at school. Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t innocent little angels either. We poked fun at each other and there were arguments too, but I think it’s become more vicious these days. Kids don’t seem to know when to stop and social media usage makes it easy for kids to carry things on outside the classroom, so things really get out of hand without a lot of parents knowing what’s going on in their kids’ lives and that’s something that really scares me.
I think it’s difficult to prepare children for bullying as it can happen to everyone for the most stupid little reason, but I think it’s important to teach your child to stand up for themselves and trust you enough to tell you about any issues in school, be it with students or teachers. I also believe that it’s every parent’s responsibility to monitor their children’s use of social media. It might not make your kids your biggest fans, but a lot of evil can be prevented that way.
9. Do you think kids today are more mature, developing faster than kids of your generation?
Absolutely and I think that’s not just down to the media. So many parents dress their kids like mini-adults and expect them to act like grown ups when in reality they should be enjoying their childhood. Of course, it’s fun to let your kids wear cute outfits, I’m totally guilty of that, but so what, if they get tomato sauce all over it when you’re out for a meal or they get bored in a restaurant?
While I think it’s important to expose them to as many experiences as possible, it’s equally important to remember that kids will be kids. They want things to be fun, so if you do something that requires them to be still for a long period of time, find a balance by allowing them to run wild beforehand or play a game while you’re waiting for your food etc.
10. Are there any subjects you wish they’d bring back or any subjects your kids are taking that you wish had been available to you at school?
I went to school in Germany, so school there was very different from school in the UK. There are no subjects like dance, photography or textiles and the curriculum is much more academical. While I think it’s great that these subjects exist, I would prefer, if A-Level students had to attend more traditional classes like languages, sciences and humanities on top of their two or three A-Level course. I took 10 different classes and I think that really gives you the best foundation for university.
Can you remember your first day at school? What are your best school memories and do you think school is better today than it was back when you went to school?
Image credits: private, Unsplash users Daniel Watson, Aaron Burden, Dawid Małecki and Iwona Łach