“Humor and enjoyment should not be neglected in our school”

“Humor and enjoyment should not be neglected in our school”
Director Henriette Steinauer: warm, resolute and not averse to culinary delights
Image: fam

When the New Middle School 6 in the Vogelweide district of Wels opens its doors this morning after nine weeks of vacation, there will be a lot of hustle and bustle, like every year at the start of school. The approximately 340 students are excitedly looking for their classes and hugging all the school friends they were most looking forward to meeting.

“We teachers start the new school year with breakfast. Everyone brings something with them. Humor and food should not be neglected”says Henriette Steinauer and laughs. For the woman from Wels, it is the 37th time she has started school as a teacher. She has been running the NMS in Porzellangasse for twelve years, which is characterized by an IT and media focus.

“I don’t know a routine because something always changes throughout the year”says Steinauer. Every first day of the new school year can be compared to a factory that restarts all systems after a long vacation. Last Friday the director still didn’t know how many students would come today: “I expect some cancellations on Monday.”

More Ukrainian students

As in most compulsory schools in Wels, the proportion of migrants is above average. What is noticeable this year is an increase in students from Ukraine: “In the spring there were only two, this year there are six. This leads me to the conclusion that no one there expects the war to end any time soon”, emphasizes the educator. The Ukrainian children are first sent to their regular classes. In the initial phase, they spend most of their time in their German support classes, where they are intensively prepared for the regular lessons presented in German.

The NMS 6 is not an all-day school, as Director Steinauer would like: “However, we offer all-day school options that are not compulsory.” Right at the start of school there is good news for the parents of these children: the fees for afternoon care will be reduced. Although these are socially graded, many parents cannot afford the school fees. “Some have to work two jobs to make ends meet for their families”says Steinauer. Because raising children is too much for many parents, the experienced educator advocates general all-day lessons. In addition, there are the consequences of Corona: “The tolerance threshold among children has fallen. Socializing in a group was somewhat forgotten. This extends into society.”

As a so-called hotspot school, you are entitled to higher funding: social learning, preventive lessons against violence, more teaching hours. “We are part of the ‘100 Schools – 1000 Opportunities’ funding program. I am very grateful for that. You only want the best for every child. None of us want even one child to be disadvantaged.”

Full church at the start of school

The school classes reflect a colorful diversity of nations and cultures – with strong emphasis on belonging to the nation: “Some people don’t even know that they are already Austrian citizens because their parents don’t tell them.” In contrast, religious differences would become less important. Steinauer: “We go to church at the start of school and also invite people of other faiths. You shouldn’t believe it, but the church is always full of people.”

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