Back to the books!

If you haven’t already heard or seen the jubilation of parents partying
in the street, the LockOut of Danish teachersis finally over and my kids cycled
off to school this morning at 7.30am – hooray! They were, of course, a tad sad
to be going back after an unexpected hiatus of 5 weeks – not to mention very
grumpy when they were dragged out of bed selvfølgelig – but resigned
and looking forward to seeing their friends and getting back in to their

On a side note: I had to laugh on Saturday night when we were watching Danish
kids’ tv. At the top of the screen was a countdown: 1 day, 12 hours, 38 minutes
and 35 seconds until…school starts! Yep, gotta love those crazy Danes and their
warped sense of humour… ;)

Anyway, now that the kids are back to their textbooks, how about some other
books? (Y’all know how much I love Danish libraries– I promise not to mentionthem again!) Free books. From our
local alfresco book trading posts!

Yep, Gentofte council has set up specially designed book trading posts– book ‘sculptures’ – around the commune. You can come and take books around
the clock. 24 hours a day. But, um, if I want to borrow a book in the wee,
small hours, won’t it be too dark, I hear you say. Why, no, because inside
there are LED lamps which are powered by solar panels on the top! Okay, I’m
interested, so where do I get the key, I hear you ask. No need – they aren’t
locked – just help yourself! :)

You’re free to keep the books once you’ve finished reading them. Or return
them – along with any others you have lying around at home, collecting dust and
clogging your feng shui. But won’t it just turn into a giant junk heap of
books, I hear your ask? No, because a team of volunteers ensures that there is
a good varied selection and rotates the stock.

And what can you expect to find? An eclectic mix. The occasional DVD,
foreign languages books, plenty of crime and Agatha Christies, kids books and
non-fiction. From Dan Brown to Tolkien and everything in between.

It’s a ‘green’, self-sustaining project – which is absolutely dependent on
trust. (Indeed, part of the thinking behind the project is that it will
actually help to promote trust in public spaces.) Six-months down the road, it
looks like a success. No vandalism and lots of happy customers!

Happy Monday – whether you have your nose in an ebook or a free book!

Diane :)

Danish Teachers are (still) locked out!

The ‘LockOut’ of Danish Teachers continues…three weeks with no school!
(Haven’t heard about it? Get up to speed with Time for School…but no teachers allowed! and LockOut of Danish Teachers…Child’s Play? )

At first we thought – selvfølgelig – that the LockOut would never
happen – it was all just fighting talk. Then, it happened – and we thought it
would blow over after a couple of days. We’ve now had three whole weeks of
it – will it ever end?!

I chummed my daughter over to school the other day. She had one lesson in
Maths, from 10.35 till 11.20 (her Maths teacher is a civil servant, one of
the hallowed few allowed in to teach during the dispute). I have to say that it
was all very eerie – the playground was a ghosttown and the numerous
‘fight-for-a-space’ bike parks were now empty!

Room for plenty more!

Room for plenty more!

But why all the coloured pennants? Did I miss a memo, was there a spring

Teachers LockOut continues

Teachers LockOut continues

On each pennant there’s the name of a child name and their class. 680
pennants. That’s one for each of the 680 students that go to our school. With
banners saying “Vi savner Jer ♥ ” (We miss you ♥). A hand-made
greeting for the students from their teachers. Teachers who still aren’t
allowed in, for the third week running.

Vi savner Jer - We miss you

Vi savner Jer – We miss you

So, will this LockOut ever
end? Well, rumour has it that the LockOut will be over next week. Because
we’re fast approaching the first of May – International Workers’ Day – a day held high, and
celebrated, by many Danes – not least our current socialist Danish Government.
A continuation of the LockOut would be terrible publicity. But, for me, all
bets are off. Just like the Danish summer, I’ll believe it when I see it! ;)

Have a fantastic school-free Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Diane :)

LockOut of Danish Teachers…Child’s Play?

Last time I told you about the LockOut of Danish teachers – and what the teachers have been
up to, since they’re not allowed to come in to school to teach.

But what about the students? Well, my kids have been in school for the
official classes taught by the teachers’ who aren’t ‘locked out’. Which for my
DS13 (dear son, aged 13) means a double period of Natur og Teknik
(nature/technology/science) and a double period of Idræt (gymclass).
That’s it. Four hours in the whole week! ;)
DD11 (dear daughter, aged 11) has slightly more…five hours of Matematik
(maths). The rest of the hours are tilsyn (supervised), i.e. the
kids are basically left to their own (electronic – boom boom!) devices. Yep,
the school has said they should bring in computers, Nintendos, books, games etc
because they’ll basically be sitting on their own all day – with a teacher on
call somewhere in the building.

Expedition to see...Kon-Tiki Expedition!

Expedition to see…Kon-Tiki Expedition!

Attendance at the tilsynstimer (supervised hours) is not obligatory
so we’re basically homeschooling… The kids and their classmates are here every
day. We’ve baked bread, rolls and cakes – hjemmekundskab (Home
Economics). Trips to the local swimming pool – idræt (gymclass).
Luckily the film Kon-Tiki has just been released here – Natur og
(nature/technology/science). One set of parents invited all the
boys from the class to make food in their kitchen/in their garden over a
bonfire… And, being an English teacher, I’ve selvfølgelig been giving

So, we’re two weeks in. With no end in sight. Because the teachers and
local communes are still at loggerheads and the Danish government won’t
intervene. At first the kids thought it was great fun…just like the long,
summer holidays with late nights and no early mornings! But now even they are
getting bored. Hey, I’m a teacher – I’m missing my students – sniff, sniff! And on
the news they reported that Danish grannies and grandads had had quite enough of
looking after the little ‘uns, thank you very much…

Yep, this LockOut is definitely not child’s play! ;)

Have a great weekend!


Time for school…but no teachers allowed!

Yaaaaaaaaawn. It’s 8am Tuesday morning and my kids are still in bed. When they should really
be sat behind their desks learning, amongst other things, the intricacies of the
Danish comma! What’s up? Well, we’re now into the second
week of the LockOut of Danish teachers. Local government want to change
teachers’ working hours (well, actually, the ratio of class prep vs. time
spent teaching students). The teachers unions are basically in disagreement,
and talks broke down. Local government want to push through the changes and
have therefore ’locked out’ the teachers – i.e. they are not allowed to come in
to teach. And they aren’t being paid. And why doesn’t the Danish government
intervene? Well, this is the so-called “Danish model”. Employers and employees
negotiating their own collective agreements without state interference.

So just what are our teachers
up to, now that they don’t have any classes to prepare or students to teach?

For lækker til Lockout! - Too cool/sexy to be locked out!

For lækker til Lockout! – Too cool/sexy to be locked

My kids teachers have been demonstrating in front of the school and at the
major traffic hubs during rush hours. Motorists were encouraged to peep their
horns if they were in agreement with the teachers. And cyclists and pedestrians
weren’t forgotten either…the teachers had taken coloured chalks and written
messages on the pavements and the cycle paths!

Jeg savner mine elever - I miss my students

Jeg savner mine elever – I miss my students

The Danish teachers have a website where you can see all their
“Lockout” events and happenings. At 12 noon today they performed Denmark’s
largest ever flash mob at Town Hall Square in the centre of Copenhagen.
Unfortunately that particular video isn’t up yet on youtube (keep looking –
meanwhile you can see it on
so instead here are some teachers doing the LockOut Harlem Shake. As they say
themselves, they would really much rather be…teaching! ;)

Have a wonderful Wednesday. School or no school!

Diane :)