Lessons as Usual in the Middle of the Atlantic Ocean?


Author: Romy
Date: 30.11.2018

Of course there are many things which belong to the daily school routine at home, but on board it changes into something quite special. The big difference – also mentioned in our name ľ is the classroom under sail. With this blog post I would like to give you some first hand information what school is like in a wet and moving classroom.

Firstly I would like to name the different school conditions. On the one hand, most of us are quite motivated to understand the topics because without school here on board we would have to study everything on our own. On the other hand lessons here are more complicated not only through the environmental conditions like waves, rain and bad air (under deck) but also through our differences in knowledge and abilities. Another point is that we only have a small number of lessons in opposite to the huge amount of things to study in every subject, so school is very intense. So much about school here in general.

Our timetable is well organized by our two project leader assistants Hanna and Simon. All the KUSis are seperated into two groups. Furthermore, we also have a lot of other plans for internships, galley duty, pool cleaning and so on. To manage all these things and keep the Thor sailing we have a two-day-system with changing details. On one day we have school nearly the complete day. There are also some new subjects to choose from. Since Tenerife we can study Astronomical Navigation, Maritime Biology and Creative Writing. On the day we are not in the lessons, there is watch, cleaning and time to practice a little for school and tests. We have already taken the Physics and the German test. We also have weekly workshops, this time there is one where we are building a chest for imports from Kuba. Furthermore we have the éThor ChoirĹ led by Jojo, also a nautical workshop to gain more information about the ship, a medical workshop with our doctors Manfred and Vroni as well as a sewing workshop with Kathrin where a lot of Christmas presents are made. Luckily between our lessons we often get breaks to enjoy the fresh air upstairs or around us.

At this point I would like to add that we have two places for our lessons, the main deck and the mess room. It depends on the weather and waves whether lessons are on deck with feet in the salty water of the waves and wind trying to get away our equipment, flying fish and sunshine or if we have to stay downstairs with little space and warm air. Otherwise if it is wet, stormy and quite rocking it makes no sence to go outside because you would not understand anyone against the strong wind. But in my opinion you can easily imagine which place most of us like the best.

Moreover, in our lessons there are many possibilities for experiments. For instance in our first physics lesson we pulled Robin up at one metre height and then discussed about the forces. And in Geography we talked about the moving of plates that form the Midatlantic Ridge that we have crossed. The drifting there produces new seaground right below us. This imagination is really impressing. In the last days we also studied seaplants out of the ocean in biology. Another nice point are our Physics exercises about underpants in our washing machine. Also in subjects like English and German we make a connection to the situation we live in and it sets us interesting thinkings about what we are doing here and what this does to us.

However, there are also some challenging situations here on board as our Chemistry teacher Jojo can tell. He wanted to pour buthan gas from one glass into another, but on deck it just flew away. One day it also started to rain and we all get quite wet. Furthermore sometimes our benches where we sit on often start to move over deck because the ship is not always straight. However, we all manage to live with these édisadvantagesĹ if I am allowed to call them so at all. It is nothing to complain about, it just happens and has to be mentioned anyway.

Nonetheless, our school on board is great and personally I have to admit it makes me happy to study again, even if there are tests and we have to to focussed. Admittedly not everyone agrees on this kind of happiness about studying again, but I think this is not caused by our school at sea but by school as something with pressure and grades in general.

All in all it is a lot of fun due to our motivated teachers with many great ideas for their lessons, the lovely conditions around us (sea, horizon, air, salt, wind and waves) and topics that concern the living on board as well as thoughts that stay even when the lessons are finished. I would like to conclude by saying that school can not be too bad if your teachers allow you to go whale watching because they think it is important to seize these chances. And we are quite lucky with whales.