Should I ask my teachers questions
10 questions for a teacher you would never dare ask yourself
Photo courtesy Seyda Kapsiz
From the column"10 questions you would never dare to ask"
Hormone-controlled dramas, brawls in the schoolyard, insults, helicopter parents and schoolchildren who smell of sweat. This is Seyda Kapsiz's everyday life. She is teacher.
The Berliner taught German, history and Turkish at an integrated secondary school with upper secondary school in Berlin-Neukölln. She does not want to give the name of her old school because it is considered a "hot spot school" anyway. The bad reputation didn't deter Seyda: "I really didn't care where I ended up. I just didn't want to register as unemployed."
Around 25 students are in one class. "In the legal clerkship you are told how to analyze difficult poems with students, but not: How do I deal with violent, drug-addicted students? In time, I figured it out myself." Many of her colleagues were unable to cope with the stress and gave up after two or three months. According to a report by the Action Council for Education, 30 percent of teachers and educators in Germany suffer from burnout and exhaustion. And the number of days on which they are absent has almost doubled since 2000.
Seyda taught at the Berlin Brennpunktschule for three years, until 2015. "I thought it was cool, there was something going on every day, the police were there once a week. We also had permanent security staff at the entrance. I love the school and would go again go back, "she says. Today she teaches in a European vocational training project outside of Germany. She doesn't say where exactly. She doesn't reveal her age either. She doesn't want her students to know about her private life. That's why she doesn't answer curious questions about their political attitudes or their favorite football club. But our ten questions do:
VICE: What age are students the most annoying?
Seyda: Between seventh and tenth grade. The hormones go crazy with those who are restless, loud and have completely different things on their minds than school. That annoys me. And the boys often stink of sweat at that age. Especially after the sports lesson. I then also make clear statements: "Open the windows. It smells very extreme here!"
Do teachers secretly take drugs on the school trip?
Yes, I know a few examples. I'm not a fan of drugs, but there are also younger colleagues who smoke weed on school trips. I generally don't smoke or smoke weed.
Why do you grade Kevin and Mahmut worse than Hannah?
I tend to rate Kevin worse than Mahmut [laughs]. Joking aside, I used to have problems myself as a student because I was the only Turkish woman in the class. A German teacher said to me for three years: "As long as you have German lessons with me, you will always get a four." Freezing. I knew I would never become a teacher like that. I don't care whether a Turkish, Arab, Kurdish, Serbian or German student is sitting in front of me. Sure, there are students who I find likeable and some who I don't like at all. But I don't care about the nationality of the students.
What's the most unfair thing you've ever done?
In my freshman year at Focus School, I found that I was biased in correcting schoolwork. I approached corrections differently when I liked a student. I thought about it and realized, shit, that can't be. I then wrote the names of all possible cartoon characters on small pieces of paper and had the students draw a name, so each student had a nickname on his exam sheet for the exam. A prefect had previously written down all the comic names on a list with the correct ones. So when I was correcting, I didn't know which work belongs to whom. Only after handing out the work did I look at the prefect's list. And this system works. This makes the grades fairer. I still do that today. It's funny for the students too — one of the lists was the names of the ugliest animals in the world.
Do you blaspheme your students in your free time?
Sure, of course. Either with colleagues or with my friends. But my friends sometimes didn't believe my stories [laughs]. They kept asking me how I "survived" at school and found my working conditions "unimaginable".
Photo: Gray Hutton
Has a student beat you before?
Indeed, there were students in my school who were violent towards teachers. They were expelled from our school and had to go to court. I've also been to court as a witness because one of my students pushed a teacher. But I've never been hit by a student, and I've never been afraid of my class. I just treated the problem students a little more gently: "Mohammed, you can do that very well!" He thought my praise was so great that he was friendly to me for the entire hour. It wasn't right, but it doesn't matter. I didn't feel like stress. As a teacher you have had enough of it. And that's good for the students too. Most of the Arab students come from families of seven or eight. They need attention and praise.
What was the worst insult a student said to you?
One of my 8th or 9th grade students had a different stupid saying in store every day. For example: "Ms. Kapsiz, you look like a giraffe." I then: "Yes, I would have to go to the zoo, are you coming with me? Then you go to the monkey enclosure." The boy asked me, totally confused, "Did you just call me a monkey?" But I haven't. I just said that he can go into such an enclosure. You have to counter it in a cool way, without offending. But at the focal point school there are also Arab boys who cannot articulate themselves at all. They say straight away "hooker, whore, ey bitch". I don't take this personally. A logical person would express himself differently. But I found a line that a student said to me pretty sucks. He said to me: "Hey, you old man". That was the worst for me. What shoud that?
Do you sometimes wish you got the spanking back?
No joke, some students deserve spanking. Whom I hate at all are slimy people. How they annoy me! After the lesson, they ask silly, slimy questions. I hate that. You can't do that. But no, I couldn't hit anyone. Not even the slimes.
Are you looking forward to parenting days because you can then tell your students about it?
I also call parents during class and say, "Your son is sitting in front of me and has misbehaved, what do you think I should do? I would suspend him from school, are you home?" The whole class is then completely silent. And that's a bit of fun, too, but it tends to be exhausting in the long run.
Have you ever had a sex fantasy with one of your students?
No, yuck, ugh - they're all children in my eyes!
Berivan is on Twitter.
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