Achtung in SF and Seattle

I had a fabulous trip to the West Coast including stops at two great Achtung Baby bookstore events in the San Francisco Bay Area: hosted by Book Passage in Sausalito and Napa Bookmine at the Napa County Library! I also enjoyed some great scenery and sunshine.

Then headed to Seattle where I appeared on King 5 New Day show.

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Gave a presentation for Townhall Seattle at the Westside School.

And a Google Talk at Google’s amazing Kirkland offices.

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Everywhere I went I met wonderful, concerned parents, trying to figure out how to give their kids more independence in this age of fear and uncertainty. I tried to offer ideas and encouragement, many of which I hope you can also find in the pages of the book itself.

I arrived home, feeling exhausted but inspired–and very grateful.

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3 Responses to Achtung in SF and Seattle

  1. I found myself saying “pass auf” more often that Achtung. When our son entered first grade in Kösingen, birthplace of Oscar Mayer, his class was combined with a second grade class. By this time I had already studied three years in Heidelberg and taught German in the US for more than 20+ years. Even so, I was mystified when told to go to the Schreibwarengeschäft and get DIN A4 and A5 paper. What a neat way for students to learn cursive handwriting. Daily, our son Thomas came home with a huge sheet of wall paper(free from the store to teachers) on which he was to practice his letters. Equally puzzling was the Tintenkiller I was to purchase in second grade for our daughter at the time. In second grade, students were taught to write with fountain pen and ink. When an error was made, one end of the Tintenkiller made the ink “disappear” and with the other end was a blue maker pen to make a correction. After that, students had to resort to white-out to make further corrections. My book has a entire section devoted to Germany and my blog posts over the past 3-4 years have had further articles about Germany and education. I have enjoyed your book, Sara, and smiled along with you on teaching independence. I was not ready even in the little village of 300 to allow my three year old to cross the street by herself. I draw the line sometimes. But I do not believe in the hovering helicopter parents I had to deal with at the high school level before I retired after teaching almost 50 years. I agree that Germans do an excellent job of rearing self-reliant children capable of thinking for themselves and asking questions in the classroom. I have been back to Germany several times. I miss my second family and friends there. I do hope you get to return with your children too. The language will come back to them very quickly too. Happy writing!

    • sarazaske says:

      I miss the fountain pens! They were great for learning how to write. And yes, some things the Germans do-like letting kids light off major fireworks–I can’t replicate, but there was a lot I could and am trying to import back home! When I have a moment, I will read through your German blogs. I’m always curious to read others experiences. Thanks for reading and posting here!

      • Since I was a Fulbright teacher in Germany, my experiences in all types of schools is a tad different. Very quickly I will tell you I walked into a 9th grade class to see a real Advent Wreath in the middle of my desk with a real candle lit. Can you imagine what went through this American teacher’s mind? Fire codes, smoke detectors and it was simply illegal. I paused and saw 30 hopeful faces looking at my reaction. I smiled and thanked them profusely. Then the teaching moment: about our rules and mandated (12-15) fire drills by law. They honored me with that simple gesture. They kept thinking that we must be very strict in our schools. There were many wonderful memories collected during our time in Germany too. The fireworks in Berlin – you can keep them! How dangerous to be walking on the sidewalk and having lit firecrackers flying at us from 15 stories above. It was not our favorite.

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