Albert Einstein At School Summary in English by Patrick Pringle

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Albert Einstein At School Summary in English by Patrick Pringle

About the Author Patrick Pringle

Author Name Patrick Pringle
Born 1917 (age 103 years), London, United Kingdom
Books Jolly Roger: The Story of the Great Age of Piracy
Nominations Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime
Patrick Pringle - albert einstein at school summary in english class 11
Patrick Pringle

Albert Einstein At School Theme

This biographical piece discusses the childhood of Albert Einstein, the famous physicist. The chapter starts with Einstein’s disagreement on rote learning with his history teacher. Einstein wanted to get away from the system of education followed in Munich. So he decided to get a doctor’s certificate declaring that he has had a nervous breakdown and needs rest for six months. Only his maths teacher admired Einstein for his brilliance. But before Einstein could get an appointment with the head teacher to present the certificate, he was asked by the head teacher to leave the school due to poor conduct. So he felt happy on leaving.

Albert Einstein At School About the Characters

Albert Einstein: During his schooldays at Munich, he was not interested in the rote learning methods of school education and expressed his frank opinion. Nobody except his maths teacher recognised his genius. In the end he was expelled by the school authorities.

Mr Braun: He was Einstein’s history teacher who believes in the rote learning system of education.

Yuri: He was Einstein’s good friend and a very helpful person.

Elsa: She was Einstein’s cousin who advised him that he will eventually succeed if he continues in his school.

Dr Ernst Weil: He was a newly qualified doctor who understands Einstein and helps him by giving the medical certificate which he required.

Mr Koch: He was Einstein’s maths teacher who understood his genius and gave him the reference he wanted.

Head Teacher: He is an administrator who simply takes the disciplinary action required by requesting Einstein to leave the school.

Albert Einstein At School Summary in English

Einstein in History Class
The narrative begins with Einstein being’ asked by his history teacher, Mr Braun, about the year in which the Prussians defeated the French at Waterloo. Einstein frankly replied that he did not remember and he didn’t see any point in learning dates. Mr Braun was amazed that Einstein didn’t believe in learning facts. According to Einstein, learning facts was not education at all. He thought that ideas were more important than facts. The teacher asked him to explain ‘Einstein’s theory of education’. Einstein shyingly elaborated that he would be more interested in learning the reason why soldiers killed each other instead of learning years or dates, or which of the armies killed more men.

Einstein Gets Scolded
Mr Braun was shocked and furious. He believed that Einstein had no desire to learn and was wasting his father’s money. Mr Braun did not agree with Einstein’s views on education. He punished Einstein by asking him to stay for an extra period in school. He also told Einstein that he was a disgrace to the school and ought to be ashamed of himself. The teacher suggested Einstein to call his father to take him away.

Einstein Hated the Atmosphere of Slum Violence
Einstein felt miserable that day. He wished his father would take him away. His father was not rich. So, Einstein lived in one of the poorest areas of Munich. He hated the slum violence there.

Einstein had no comfort there. The atmosphere was bad as his landlady beat her children regularly and every Saturday her husband, a drunkard, beat her. The only comfort for Einstein was when he played his violin, but that was also, stopped by his landlady because its sound disturbed her. All this made him miserable.

Einstein shared his pain with Yuri, his only friend in Munich. Yuri tried to convince by telling him that he was lucky to at least have his own room.

Yuri also told Einstein that he was sharing a room with students who were not civilised at all and they fought with each other. One of the students got killed the previous week in such a duel. The authorities did not take action and merely told them not to engage in such fights. Einstein got disgusted after hearing this account.

Einstein Met his Cousin Elsa
Einstein was doubtful about passing his exams for the school diploma. He told Elsa, his cousin, the same when she next came to Munich. She used to visit Einstein occasionally but she lived in Berlin, where her father had a business. Elsa tried to counsel him. She told him that she knew a lot of boys who were more stupid than him and they all had passed the exam. She counselled him to continue his studies in the school. Einstein explained his helplessness by saying that he was no good at learning things by heart. He was reading a book on geology, which was not even a part of his diploma. Still, he was studying it because he liked it. Apart from books on science, his only comfort was playing his violin, until his landlady asked him to stop.

Einstein’s Plan to Get Away from School
Einstein thought that it was meaningless for him to stay on in Munich. It was no use wasting his father’s money and everyone’s time. Einstein suddenly got an idea. He met Yuri and asked him if he knew a doctor. Einstein wanted to get a medical certificate to show that he had a nervous breakdown and he should stop going to school. Yuri doubted that the doctor will believe Einstein. Einstein commented that he would have a real nervous breakdown to make matters easier for the doctor.

The Doctor Gives Einstein a Medical Certificate
Yuri found a recently qualified doctor, Dr. Ernst Weil. Yuri warned Einstein against trying to deceive Ernst, but to be frank and honest.

Einstein met Dr. Ernst the next day. Dr. Ernst informed him that Yuri had told him about his troubles. Einstein informed him about his plans to move to Milan. Dr Ernst gave him a medical certificate stating that Einstein was suffering from nervous breakdown and should stay away from school for six months. Einstein thanked the doctor and took Yuri for a meal.

Einstein Seeks a Reference
Einstein told Yuri that he would leave school forever as he never wanted to come back to that school. Yuri suggested him to take a reference letter from his maths teacher, to Mr. Koch, before going to the headmaster. Mr. Koch really admired Einstein for his brilliance and gave him the reference.

Einstein Summoned By Head Teacher
Before Einstein had a chance to give the medical certificate to the head teacher, he was summoned to the head teacher’s office. The head teacher told him that he was expelled from the school and he should leave immediately.

When Einstein wanted to know the reason, the head teacher told him that his presence disturbed the class so much that no teaching could be done.

Einstein Happy to Leave the School
When Einstein heard this, he felt sad that he had unnecessarily wasted time and effort in procuring a medical certificate. Einstein was tempted to tell the head teacher what he thought about the school or about the teachers but somehow stopped himself. But he did not feel ashamed of being expelled and walked out keeping his head high. .He did not say goodbye to any teacher or student inside the school.

The only person he wanted to meet before leaving was Yuri, who wished him good luck and wished that he would be happier in Milan as it was a wonderful place.

Albert Einstein At School Chapter Highlights

  • The chapter opens in history class where Mr. Braun is asking Einstein a question related to dates. Einstein gives a frank reply that he does not remember the answer.
  • The conversation between Einstein and his history teacher Mr. Braun turns unpleasant when the teacher talks in a sarcastic manner about Einstein’s theory of education. The teacher calls him a disgrace and punishes him.
  • Einstein feels very miserable due to many factors: the school environment, the place where he lived etc.
  • The atmosphere where he lives is also depressing. He hates the atmosphere of ‘slum violence’ where the beating of children by their mother and the beating of a wife by a drunk husband is a regular feature.
  • Einstein discusses about all this with his friend Yuri who lives in a shared room.
  • Yuri says that his room was no better than Einstein’s, as students became violent over small matters.
  • Einstein discusses about the problems at school with his cousin Elsa who occasionally visited him.
  • Elsa thinks there is no reason that he cannot pass by remembering facts even though he does not understand them.
  • Einstein is greatly interested in reading books on science. Elsa points out to him that reading those books will not help him to pass his examination.
  • Einstein discusses with Yuri about getting a medical certificate from a doctor so that he can stay away from his school.
  • Yuri sends him to a newly qualified doctor, Ernst Weil. He is an understanding person and gives a certificate stating that
  • Einstein is close to a nervous breakdown and should keep away from school for six months.
  • Yuri suggests to Einstein to meet his maths teacher first for a reference before Einstein went to meet the head teacher with the medical certificate.
  • Einstein’s Maths teacher, Mr Koch, appreciates his brilliance. He gives a glowing reference to Einstein which can get him admission in a college or institute for higher education in maths.
  • Einstein is called by the head teacher who informs him that he is being expelled from the school. The head teacher tells him of his misbehaviour in class.
  • Einstein happily leaves the school with head held high. He does not bid goodbye to any teacher or student of that school,
    Before leaving for Milan, he meets his best friend Yuri, who wishes him good luck for the future.

Albert Einstein At School Word Meanings

Word – Meaning
physicist – scientist who studies physics
expulsion – forced removal
unthinking – spontaneous
amaze – surprise
heavy sarcasm – mockery
flushed – became red in confusion
stay in – remain
lodgings – place of residence
squalor – filth
slum violence – fights in the poorest areas of the town
came drunk – became drunk
civilised – polite, well-mannered
duel – fight between two people
scar – injury mark
badge of honour – mark of pride
glumly – sadly
learning things by heart – remembering things perfectly
wailing – long and loud sound made by the violin
gets on one’s nerves – annoys
howling – crying
absurd – silly
turn out – end in the result that
gleamed – shone brightly
nervous breakdown – mental illness

What is the central idea of Albert Einstein at school?

The basic theme of “Albert Einstein at School” is to throw light on the modern way of providing education. Education doesn’t mean-mugging updates, it means understanding facts and gaining practical knowledge.

What is the conclusion of Chapter Albert Einstein at school?

Albert Einstein at School Summary

It ends up in him being punished by the teacher, which again, is not new. Then the lesson talks about how Albert disliked his neighbourhood because of all the slum violence and compared it to his best friend, Yuri’s neighbourhood who did not like his’ either.

Why was Albert Einstein explain from school?

The head teacher told Albert that he was expelling him from school because his presence in the classroom made it impossible for the teacher to teach and other pupils to learn. No serious work could be done while he was in the class. Albert refused to learn and he was” in constant rebellion.

Why did Einstein not like his school?

Albert hated school because of the stifling environment that suppressed his scientifically curious mind . the excessively stern discipline and rigid rules in that school led to frequent clashes with his teachers . He began to feel that it was inappropriate place of liberal person like him .

What characteristics of Einstein’s nature is highlighted?

5) What characteristic of Einstein’s nature is highlighted by the exchanges between him and the teacher? Answer: The exchanges between Einstein and the teacher show him to be a person with firm convictions; he is frank and straightforward. Even at the cost of punishment he is not willing to compromise on his views.