There are three types of secondary school in Berlin-the trade school, where children go to learn a trade, the technical school, where only two languages are taught, and the gymnasium. In the gymnasium fifteen subjects are taught in the first year, and seventeen in later years; these include English, French, Latin and Greek. Every student has to take German, Geology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths I and Maths II.
School starts at eight o'clock in the morning. At eleven there is a break of ten minutes, during which soup, cocoa and buns are supplied. School finishes at half past one, but there is school on Saturday mornings too. Usually there are four or five hours of homework each day.
There may be as many as two or three thousand pupils in the gymnasium, and exams have to be passed every year. Failure means transfer to another school. Great emphasis is placed upon music and art, and our school had a fi ne choir and school orchestra.
The school buildings are of stone and there is a large hall with a stage and piano for annual concerts.
On the whole, school is quite fun, but there is plenty of work and pupils are usually glad when at the end of nine years they pass their leaving certificate.