A good education opens doors, empowers people to participate in society and helps them make the most of their talents on their life journey. Unfortunately, children’s socio-economic background still too often determines their academic success – including in Germany today. The educational organization Teach First Germany is committed to creating equal opportunities throughout Germany’s education system with a simple concept: college graduates in different subjects help teachers at schools in disadvantaged communities give students the support they need.
Three questions to a fellow
Marius Räbiger studies human geography in Marburg and Münster and was part of the 2019 generation of fellows at Teach First Germany. During his time as a fellow, Marius volunteered at a secondary school in Eitorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. He talked to us about this valuable experience in an interview:
What is your role within Teach First Germany and what impact can you make on students’ lives at school?
As a fellow, I offer the teacher my assistance and input in the classroom and I support the students with their projects. Most importantly, I help girls and boys who are at risk of dropping out to successfully graduate from school. My goal is to give them new perspectives and encourage them to take control of their lives. I help them prepare for exams, take the time to have conversations with them and provide feedback, and guide them in making plans for the future. The learning relationships that develop are very special.
How did you prepare for your mission as a fellow?
Together with other fellows-in-training, I completed a three-week intensive summer course to prepare for my mission. We had a packed program of daily seminars, training sessions and workshops that taught us how to plan lessons, diagnose students' skill levels and help teenagers learn successfully. Subjects ranged from project management and leadership to team teaching and experiential education. We were then able to put what we had learned into practice during simulation exercises that also helped us to see classes from the point of view of an adolescent.
In addition, I had the opportunity to shadow an active fellow during a one-week internship at the school where he was volunteering before the start of the summer course. That was the first time I was able to immerse myself in the typical workday of a fellow, which was a valuable learning experience.
What does your involvement in Teach First Germany bring to you, personally?
I will always have fond memories of the many wonderful and sometimes challenging moments with the students and with my team teaching colleagues. My role as a fellow has allowed me to grow and mature as a person. Going forward, I want to continue advocating for equal access to education and encourage young people to tread their own path.
Fritz Henkel Stiftung foundation
30 million euros donated to over 4,000 projects, supporting around 3.5 million individuals in more than 100 countries around the world: the Fritz Henkel Stiftung foundation, through which Henkel channels its social engagement as well as that of its employees and retirees, is turning 10 in 2021. The Foundation is closely interconnected with Henkel but operates independently from the company. It supports projects in the fields of education and science, social issues, art and culture, fitness and health as well as environmental protection with a specific focus on promoting equal opportunities and sustainable education. For this purpose, the foundation works together with non-profit organizations and partners around the world.