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Trainee teachers in crisis: three young future teachers have to survive the first day of school, impart knowledge in a structured way, motivate students, hand out grades, and make themselves heard. They have to manage all this despite being ...


I swear that I will follow the German constitution and German law and to do my job as well as I can, so help me god.” The civil servant oath is the beginning of what is most likely the most stressful phase of being a teacher – the traineeship. Three young teachers – Anna, Katja, and Ralf have to master the school routine, transmit knowledge in a structured way, motivate students, give grades, and make themselves heard during this test phase between university and a permanent position. They are simultaneously getting permanently tested themselves. The three of them are as different as the classes they oversee. Anna, an elementary school teacher, would rather not to give grades at all and prefers writing long explanations on the children’s papers. She seems shy, knows that about herself, and doesn’t know whether she wants to turn into a person that she isn’t for the job. Katja seems very calm at first glance, but working at a comprehensive school takes its toll on her. A big portion of the day is focused on calming the class down. She doubts whether anything she transmits actually sticks. High school teacher Ralf seems like an authority figure from the start, but he also questions himself. For example, is it better to be easy or tough on the kids? Jakob Schmidt accompanies his protagonists with a lot of empathy and an alert eye on the crises and successes. He films them in typical situations: cramming material, faculty room discussions, reading papers, loud discussions after giving out grades, and also captures how the small everyday questions are inseparably linked to the big questions in our society.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Deutschland 2016, 102 min
Genre: Documentary
Director: Jakob Schmidt
Author: Jakob Schmidt
DOP: Jakob Schmidt, David Schittek, Evgeny Revvo
Distributor: Weltkino Filmverleih
Release: 18.05.2017


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