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Teacher-based Rooms

Dear Students,

Dear Parents,

Teacher-based rooms or not – this topic will be explored at the all faculty conference (including Preschool, Elementary School and grades 5-12 teachers) on June 20th, 2016. In order to support a constructive discussion within our school community, I would like to share some background information as well as a brief juxtaposition of the facts we have to consider.

During the last inspection by German officials (Bund-Länder-Inspektion) the teachers of grades 5 through 12 expressed their wish for classrooms that are teacher based.  This wish was restated at the all faculty meeting in September 2015. In my role as the Head of School, it is my responsibility to channel this wish through the established decision-making process and to ensure that the decision, whatever it might be, will be implemented.

First, the room capacity had to be verified and indeed the DSW has enough classrooms in order to implement a teacher based room concept. After that, I informed the Board of Directors, the Parents Council and the Student Council about the teachers’ wish. In the middle of May, in the conference of the teachers of grades 5 through 12 (Dienstberatung), the topic was on the agenda and a very well written and detailed statement of our Student Council was discussed. The majority of the faculty was in favor of a test-run for one year. Whether or not this proposal will be implemented or not can only be decided at the all faculty conference (Gesamtkonferenz) , because that is the highest level of decision-making authority when it comes to pedagogical and organizational school issues. As it is common practice at our all faculty meetings, representatives of the Student Council, of the Parent Council and of the Board of Directors are invited. The three groups will have an opportunity during the conference to state their opinions regarding this important topic before the vote takes place.

My personal opinion on this topic is not being considered because I would have to be on one or the other side of the issue, and that would influence the process by which I am guiding others to form their opinions.  There are reasons for and against the teacher-based rooms as you can see in the following summary of the discussion at the conference of teachers of grades 5 through 12.

Pros of teacher-based rooms

Cons of teacher-based rooms

  • Cleanliness/Order: Students are guests and will treat the rooms with more care.
  • Authority of Room Design: The Room Design is the responsibility of the teacher. The teacher-based room can be decorated with students’ work, posters and or a reading corner can be created.
  • More Storage Room: Everything that is needed for instruction has ist place in shelves and closets in the room. Books, such as Atlases, Thesaurus and dictionaries that are used during class can be stored in the teacher-based room. In order to lighten the load of backpack, especially in lower grades, the school could provide books in the classroom, so that they do not need to be carried to and from school. And there will be storage for materials of individualized learning methods. In order to be able to offer differentiated learning in one classroom this easy access to a variety of materials is beneficial.
  • Improvement of the Quality of Instruction  
    Students benefit from the rooms that will be equipped based on the subject that is taught, as the rooms become specialized learning environments.
  • Increase in Instructional Time: Stopping by the teachers‘ lounge inbetween classes is eliminated and breaks can be used to prepare the upcoming class (materials can be prepared, Computers and projectors can be turned on, etc.) Since the room is already open, it is also easier for students to get in their seats faster and instruction can begin on time.
  • Quiet Working Environment: When no students are in the teacher-based room, during Freistunden, lunch break, or after school, the room can be used as an office. In contrast to the busy teachers’ lounge it will be possible to work in a concentrated fashion. There is no need for a teachers’ lounge.
  • Open Rooms: Students know where to find their teachers and can use breaks to stop by to ask questions.
  •  Automatically „Moving Breaks“

„Homeless“ Students / „classroom identity“: -        There could be a shelf in the teacher-based rooms where students can leave their materials that they don’t need all the time. This will allow for more space in their lockers.

-        We will need to create new areas for students to spend their time in short breaks, Freistunden or before classes begin in the morning:

Room 2 as a room for grades 10 through 12 (with sofas), library as quiet study area, flexible option to remain in the Assembly Hall.

  • Increase in student „travel“:  However, our students are already „traveling“ for subjects such as Science, Physical Education, Music and Art)
  • Size of Furniture: We will need to offer tables and chairs where the height can be adjusted.
  • „Americanization“ of the DSW?: Even in England and France the teacher-based room concept is predominant.
  • Complex Planning of Weekly Schedules: In order to achieve highest possible benefit of the teacher-based room concept we have to put more time and effort into the preparation of the weekly schedules. (Use of rooms, compact teacher schedules, short ways to walk between classes).
  • Orphaned teacher-based rooms:  The teacher-based rooms will cause teachers to go to the teachers‘ lounge less and less. However, coffee, tea as well as copy machines help prevent complete “desertification“.

Thank you for your interest and best regards,

Petra Palenzatis, OStD‘

Head of School




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