The trainee lawyer: strict but still popular?

Helena (25) is one of around 30,000 prospective teachers in Germany. What actually happens behind the legendary teacher’s room door? What is it like teaching students who are only a few years younger than you are? And how does Helena cope with the pressure? She tells about it – under a pseudonym – in her MADS column: the trainee lawyer.


“Moin”, a tall, blond man in a training jacket calls out to a group of 16-year-old boys and gives them the ghetto fist. This is how my 50-year-old colleague with a Justin Bieber hairstyle greets his students in the schoolyard. When I first observe this situation, I am impressed by his casual manner. I want to be that kind of teacher too! I’m not so sure anymore. Of course, like most people, a lot of teachers want to be liked and popular, myself included. That can be done quickly with a ghetto fist and no homework. At the same time, however, being perceived as the boss in the classroom is the art.

At the beginning of my legal clerkship, I found it difficult to bear the bored glances at the clock and to reject the begging for zombie ball as a final game in physical education. Although I didn’t want to be a spoilsport, I stayed strict. To do this, I tried to make the Age of Enlightenment and gymnastics in physical education as interesting as possible. A few days ago I got feedback from my class. They said I could be even stricter. It helps them focus. I was flabbergasted. It came from the biggest chaos in the class.

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Balance between closeness and distance

My educational science professor always called the tightrope walk “the game between personal closeness and professional distance”. By this he also meant that we shouldn’t immerse ourselves too deeply in the pupils’ world and shouldn’t make their problems ours, which we take home with us. On the other hand, we sometimes spend more time with them than their parents and are trusted people for them.

I think that professional closeness and personal distance go much better: Providing closeness and help when Lea has problems at home, but keeping enough distance so that you don’t worry about them in the evening on the sofa. Sounds great in the lecture hall. Teachers who can easily do this are my role models. With or without a ghetto fist.

From Helena Fischer


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