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Old 15.01.2016, 22:55
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Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

Hi, I'm moving from Brazil to Zurich, don't speak german and have to decide if I'm going to enroll my son in the swiss public school right away otherwise I'd have to start looking for private ones, most of them have waiting list right???
But my question today is about the comunication with the school, I' ve been reading that the comunication happens in german, how is that possible? Is this literally true? Do they have any flexility when the mother doesn't speak german or I would have to ask someone to translate for me? I'm talking about individual meetings, to talk about my son. Thanks a lot
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Old 15.01.2016, 23:03
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

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I' ve been reading that the comunication happens in german, how is that possible? Is this literally true?
Hi.

You are moving to an area where the language is German. What do you expect?
If a German speaker moved to Brazil, I'm sure the schools wouldn't communicate with them in German. I know UK schools would only communicate in English.

You might be lucky and have teachers who are willing to speak English with you, but you can't guarantee it.
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Old 15.01.2016, 23:06
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

The experience will vary a lot depending on the individual school and teacher...

All written info comes home in German. We type it in to google translate or similar, and fudge our way through.

If your child is arriving with zero German, they hopefully will get offered an intensive language class first, for 6 or 12 months, before being integrated to the regular classroom.

Some info will be in English (from the Canton, maybe the school website) but basically you have to get used to dealing with German as fast as possible.

Our daughter's first Swiss teacher was also the 'languages' teacher so spoke great English. She would switch back and forth as needed to help out. Other teachers have varied from 'it's really difficult for me to speak English, but I will try' to 'this is a whole lot easier if you just fudge with German and I say whatever I want and don't have to worry about how I sound in English' to 'why don't you understand German yet?'..

My husband speaks/understands a lot more German than I (and has a better 'ear') so we do the appointments together and we help each other...mostly we try to push on with German as far as possible, and when I get completely lost, my husband or the teacher try to clarify in English.

At the support level (like, school psychologist, therapy, intensive language classes) we have found everyone very encouraging and willing to help out with English as much as possible...

Starting in a bilingual private Montessori school was a 'soft' option for us as they always provided both languages and had staff who were confident to translate as needed. This changed when our kids started at Swiss secondary school, but the local school where our kids are have been far more helpful than we ever expected/imagined they would be...
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Old 15.01.2016, 23:07
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

Oh, forgot to add, at the parent-welcome night when our son started at the secondary school, the first thing they did was ask any parents who spoke particular languages to put their hand up if they needed translation. They had allocated staff and parent helpers to translate into Italian, Spanish, Serbian and a couple of other languages, and English was offered...
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Old 15.01.2016, 23:09
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

It literally is true!


But all the teachers we have dealt with have had very good English and are happy to talk (and email) us in English. On very rare occasions during a 1:1 interview, one will struggle to find the precise word for a complex idea, but it has honestly been no problem at all. Moreover they have been happy to translate for the children in class - even on occasion during tests.

School notes are a breeze because of the google translate app feature where you just point your camera at things. It's not perfect, but it's surprising how similar school notes have been to the ones at home (even the font and the tone).

Let that be the very least of your worries.
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Old 15.01.2016, 23:27
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

The 1:1 meetings are normally just once a year so by next year you will hopefully have started to learn the lingo. If your son doesn't speak German then he will anyway have to have extra lessons which the school normally take care of. Just don't always rely on everybody speaking English, they don't and personally I think it's quite rude that after several years some people haven't bothered to learn the local language.
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Old 15.01.2016, 23:31
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

I have never, ever, spoken to any of my children's teachers in English.

French, perhaps, but never English.

Tom
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Old 15.01.2016, 23:48
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

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I have never, ever, spoken to any of my children's teachers in English.

French, perhaps, but never English.

Tom
Usually in German, right, Tom? That's literally true, isn't it?
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Old 15.01.2016, 23:53
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

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Hi, I'm moving from Brazil to Zurich, don't speak german and have to decide if I'm going to enroll my son in the swiss public school right away otherwise I'd have to start looking for private ones, most of them have waiting list right???
But my question today is about the comunication with the school, I' ve been reading that the comunication happens in german, how is that possible? Is this literally true? Do they have any flexility when the mother doesn't speak german or I would have to ask someone to translate for me? I'm talking about individual meetings, to talk about my son. Thanks a lot
- German is very likely in Zurich. How old is your son? How long do you plan to stay in Switzerland? He will pick the language pretty quickly..that's a life gift you are giving to him.

- Private school waiting list? not sure about it...but in general in Switzerland if you show cash the list can become very short for you.
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Old 16.01.2016, 00:09
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Thanks a lot for all the replies, It was very hepful, the begining is what worries me most, I'm gonna have to talk a lot with them,my son has a lot of issues...So I don't know, this is a big deal, this is one of the main reasons an international would be better for him, if money wasn't on the table.
But you guys think during this introducing stage, the first year actually, teachers and staff, principle would be reluctant to talk to me in English or in Portuguese?

he's seven, he will be almost 8 when move in march, we don't have a time set, for our stay

Last edited by 3Wishes; 19.01.2016 at 21:20. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 16.01.2016, 00:14
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

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Thanks a lot for all the replies, It was very hepful, the begining is what worries me most, I'm gonna have to talk a lot with them,my son has a lot of issues...So I don't know, this is a big deal, this is one of the main reasons an international would be better for him, if money wasn't on the table.
But you guys think during this introducing stage, the first year actually, teachers and staff, principle would be reluctant to talk to me in English or in Portuguese?
I'd imagine they'd be VERY reluctant to speak to you in Portuguese. Can't imagine why, though. I have a friend from the Gambia and nobody in the local government speaks to him in Wolf, either. Weird.

But you will most likely be able to converse with your son's teachers in English while you learn some German. It really depends where you live; if in downturn Zürich, you may find that most of the children in the local school are not Swiss and the teachers have a high probability of multi-linguism, including English.

The teachers at my son's primary school insisted on providing a translator for his parent-teacher meeting, because one of the teachers recognised that my son's mother spoke no German (despite living here for 6 years) and didn't feel confident about his own abilities in English. (His concerns about his own level of English were groundless, imo).

Last edited by 22 yards; 16.01.2016 at 00:25.
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Old 16.01.2016, 00:17
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

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Thanks a lot for all the replies, It was very hepful, the begining is what worries me most, I'm gonna have to talk a lot with them,my son has a lot of issues...So I don't know, this is a big deal, this is one of the main reasons an international would be better for him, if money wasn't on the table.
But you guys think during this introducing stage, the first year actually, teachers and staff, principle would be reluctant to talk to me in English or in Portuguese?
Try a Montessori school in Zurich...they are more open and flexible (or supposed to be)
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Old 16.01.2016, 00:23
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Downturn Zurich is an area? Any places known for having Brazilian?

I checked the website from the d'insle montessari, are there others? Is this the best one? Any others you recommend?

Last edited by 3Wishes; 19.01.2016 at 21:21. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 16.01.2016, 00:28
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

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Downturn Zurich is an area? Any places known for having Brazilian?
Lol, my phone autocorrected "downtown" to "downturn"! But the latter applies to a lot of the outskirts of Zürich.

As for Brazilians, most areas of Zürich have beauty parlours.

HTH.
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Old 16.01.2016, 00:37
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

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I checked the website from the d'insle montessari, are there others? Is this the best one? Any others you recommend?
Use the search function of the forum (upper right corner) as Montessori has been discussed by different people.
If you decide to go the path of german speaking school avoid to live in an area with other Brazilians: you and your son will risk spending more time speaking portuguese than german....it will be tough at the beginning but on long term it's the best way to practice and learn german.
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Old 16.01.2016, 00:43
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

It's true thanks
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Old 16.01.2016, 08:13
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

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...
But you guys think during this introducing stage, the first year actually, teachers and staff, principle would be reluctant to talk to me in English or in Portuguese?
If they don't speak Portugese (very likely) or English (it is a possibility) then yes, they'll be reluctant to speak to you in those languages.

If the teacher speaks English and is more interested in establishing communication than some political ideas that foreigners must speak the local language, then you'll be fine. I've had three kids through the system now. We could communicate with most teachers in English. For a few, we spoke in English and they spoke in German (it's easier to understand through hearing than to speak). For a very few we just stumbled along in German, but with a will to communicate, that works ok.

We had one teacher who, though speaking fluent English, would only talk to us in German. But he was an idiot in so many other ways as well...
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Old 16.01.2016, 08:31
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

The schools here are integrated, so your child will not be the only one in class who has issues. Relax a little, don't overprotect your son. He'll be fine most likely and if not, there are always ways. I'd recommend a German class for you before you move. Give your child the chance of a new beginning, don't shower teachers with informations. Sometimes certain issues never show up in a new environment or with a new teacher- I've seen that happen!

Ask for a meeting three weeks from the start, give that amount of time. Three weeks is kind of a threshold, after three weeks you see how he gets along with the new situation. Teachers will contact you anyway if they think it is necessary.
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Old 16.01.2016, 08:45
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

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I checked the website from the d'insle montessari, are there others? Is this the best one? Any others you recommend?
Our son goes to D'Insle's sister school (Sprungbrett), and we couldn't be happier. The people I have spoken to who have kids at D'Insle are also happy with their choice.

When the Troll started at D'Insle, he didn't speak a word of German or English (we speak French and Norwegian at home). He started in early May, and until the end of the school year he had an adult with him at all times to do one-to-one language teaching. By summer, he could make himself understood in English, but was reluctant to speak German. Back to school after the vacation, he was put together with the other kids, and by October he was doing well in both languages.

Communication with the teachers is, as a rule, in the language the teacher teaches in (German, English or French), but they are extremely helpful and flexible and will speak English if you can't get by in German. I've asked them to speak to me in German whenever possible, and come of them correct me when I make a mistake. It probably explains why my German has improved so much since switching to that school.

All the written documentation is in both languages.

It's not a typical "expat" school as most of the families have settled in Zürich permanently. Most are mixed families, I think there are only 2 kids whose parents are both Swiss German. Hence you don't hear much Swiss German from the kids but they all understand it since the assistants speak Swiss German to them (the teachers speak High German, the principal speaks both depending on her mood).

PM if you have any questions. Our plan is to keep the Troll at Sprungbrett until the company no longer pays for his school, after that we'll see depending on whether I have found a job or not by then, and whether or not we decide to move out of Zürich. But as of today, I'd like him to stay there as long as possible.
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Old 16.01.2016, 14:32
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Re: Are individual parent teacher meeting in German?

Thanks a lot.
Trollemor you said he had an adult with him at all times, do you mean there was a teacher who helped him during school time, how did it work? Or was it after regular class?
My husband's company won't be paying the school...I have to consider that, It will cost us a lot, but we are willing to make an effort if that's gonna make a big difference on the treatment we're gonna get, he's gonna get, Another thing that worries me is he being hold back a year if he goes to swiss public school.
Is that very common? Have a lot of people experienced that? I'm guessing the kid being hold back a year after their first years in Switzerland happens more often in the public system than in the private one? Is that correct?
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