Two minutes about school

Date: 27th of December 2020
Position: 20°15,7’ N, 021°23,6’ W

Welcome to my todays talk about school aboard the Thor Heyerdahl. I would like to structure my speech into the sections facts, form, figures and function.

Let me start with some general information about the school lessons we receive at the moment. Our classroom is the sailing boat Thor Heyerdahl, more specifically: the messroom under deck or the main deck outside. Therefore, there is a big difference between classes at home, where…

Sorry for this little break, but someone shouted “Whales on backboard”, so that everyone stood up from what he or she was doing at the moment and came up on deck as fast as possible in order to be able to watch these huge ocean giants. Since I first had to shut the computer, I was late for the whales, I didn’t see them. But, never mind, I am quite sure that there will be many more chances to do so.

Back to what I was talking about before. The difference between school at home and here on the ship. Well, situations just like this are one big difference, I want to point out. Learning is important and we are focused and concentrated during class, of course :), but we are not in a pale building where there is nothing happening around us. We are very lucky to have the chance to have lessons connected to our natural environment and we use and enjoy this privilege.

And one more detail, that mustn’t be forgotten, is the fact, that we are learning on a ship. I know, I already mentioned, but what I want to say is, that the ship is moving all time, so we move as well, no matter, if we want to or not. Sometimes it is demanding, especially when several students are seasick and we have to deal with physical problems added to the concentration we want to pay. Then it is very difficult for us and we have to work together to make the best out of our situation. But sometimes it can be great fun when waves make the ship roll and we pupils slide across the benches.

My next sub-topic are the figures. First of all, I would like to introduce you to the teachers here on board. On the one hand they are still our teachers, they correct and grade our works and they tell us to focus as often as necessary. On the other hand, they are right like us: young people who want to experience an exciting adventure, something new. We all want to explore new countries and worlds, gather new experiences and learn something about ourselves. We help each other when we recognize someone is struggling and we laugh together when someone behaves silly or we are too amazed about the beautiful sunset to say anything. We are traveling together, we are sitting in the same boat. We are friends and, to me, this is the best and biggest difference about school here on the Thor.

What is missing now? Yes, you are right, I haven’t talked about the pupils themselves yet. I guess, I don’t have to explain that we have a completely different relationship to each other, a much closer one than it could be possible at home. It is kind of the same as about the teachers. We not only learn together, we live together, eat, sleep, laugh and cry together. We went through the same challenges when it came to the seasickness, we help each other up, if someone feels like falling down and we are standing close to each other, smiling towards the sunrise in the morning, when we brush our teeth. We are one family and I really love my new family here on board.

Last but not least, let me come to the function of classes on the Thor Heyerdahl. In general, I can say that the aim of school everywhere is the same. Whether it is on a boat or in a traditional school building or anywhere else, teachers want to give their knowledge to the pupils. Still there is a tiny but important difference between the classes on board and those in our home school. At home, pupils often feel like learning only for school, for good grades or for some other reason that might not be that motivating. This doesn’t have to be the truth for all of you, but from my view it is much easier to understand the reason for learning a new language like Portuguese right now, when I know that in a few days I want to be able to buy the bus tickets for my group on the islands of Cape Verde.

I hope I could give you a brief insight into what school lessons aboard the Thor Heyerdahl are like. Thank you for your attention! If there are any questions left, I would be very happy to answer them now. I guess the fastest way to reach out for me is writing a letter to the Thor Heyerdahl office in Kiel from where it can be brought to me when we reach Cape Verde in a few days.