Guest blogger: Fritz, 12 years old. Here in Switzerland, all the kids in 6th grade have to take a test… and this year, that included me (!) This test is like, the biggest test in elementary school. The concept is basically to sort everybody in 6th grade (I should say my class, because there’s only one class per grade,) into 3 groups; pré-gym, general, and exigence de base. The highest group, pré-gym, is for the kids that are on track to go to college, so they all study the harder things in middle school. The second highest group, general (pronounced jénéral, with a French G like Jacques,) is for the people that could go either way, the people that they don’t really know where they’ll go. The last group, exigence de base, is for the people that are pretty sure that they’re not going to college, and going to learn a trade. Now that we have the three groups, you can see why it would be a really hard and stressful test, because it shows you if you’re going to college or not. In 6th grade! (And the test was on my birthday!!!!!)
I play soccer and knew I would be able to play on a team here in Fribourg, and I have to say, it’s pretty different here. For one thing, we don’t have our own uniforms; they’re just given out to the team before each game. We also don’t have practice jerseys; we wear whatever we want to practice, and we don’t wear soccer socks or shin guards in practice either. Another thing is, we wash our cleats with water at the end of each practice so that they don’t get too muddy. Also, there are three periods of 25 minutes each, instead of two halves. And at the end of each period, they give out hot tea to the players, even in summer!
I think the biggest difference here in Switzerland is school. At 7:20 I walk to school (about 500 meters) arrive at about 7:30, play soccer for a little bit, then at 7:45, school starts. We go inside and then put on our slippers outside the classroom, (weird!) and then line up outside the class to shake hands with our teacher. Then the day begins. We don’t really switch classes, but we have two different teachers, who split up the teaching. The first one comes on Mondays and Tuesdays, while the second comes on Wednesday (a half day, always) through Friday. On Monday, every three weeks, we have swimming, which we take a bus to (about 20 minutes away.) On Tuesdays, every month, we have sports afternoon, a day where we play active games for 2 hours (depending on the weather, we do this outside.) On Wednesdays, we have a half day, and it’s always nice to relax. On Thursdays, every week, we have gym, which we walk to as a class (the gym’s not inside the school.) And lastly, on Fridays, we have a really fun class called bricolage, which is basically a skills for living/DIY class. It’s really fun, and I just made a cool whiteboard using sewing techniques that I learned this year. I also made and eraser for it. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, we have 2 hours to go home and eat at lunch, making the school day about 5 hours long. Except on Wednesdays, which is about 3 ½ hours.
It’s been great talking to you guys and I hope to see you soon. Peace out for now!