School’s officially out since last Friday and I can tell you. I’m very fine mush. First of all, the last two weeks are some of the hardest, contrary to popular belief. For one thing, my school wisely decided to turn those last two weeks into project weeks under the “Education for Sustainable Development” goals of the UN, which are so broad that you can basically do whatever you want (though each year has one topic they need to touch).
I absolutely love those weeks. Instead of watching one movie after the other because the grade are written and the books have been collected, we do fun things that are really, really good for our underprivileged kids: visiting the library, the zoo, planting, painting,… It also means long days, not just for the projects, but also for the conferences at the end of the year, but lots of activities outdoors, with a pretty heatwave (that thankfully broke this week). As a result a bone deep physical exhaustion came on top of a bone deep psychological one.
You may remember that after my teacher training, I basically stumbled into special ed. I discovered that I like it and that I’m good at it and that I could imagine staying there. Unfortunately, the ministry of education claims that there’s no shortage of special ed teachers, I was just filling a temporary vacancy. For 5 years in the same school… I kept trying, the union kept trying, but the last phone call with the nice woman from the ministry made it clear that while I could probably always get a temporary contract, I’d not get a permanent one. But she’d send out a new temporary one. That was weeks ago, I kept waiting. Now, since I didn’t go to university for nothing, I kept applying for the regular teacher jobs, though me and my fellow “totally only temporary long term regular ed turned special ed” colleagues suspected that the two departments were keeping us in a loop.
On Monday I got a mail from the department overseeing regular teacher placements that they have (another temporary…) position for me. It would have been at a comprehensive school quite near, which doesn’t only have a bit less underprivileged clientele, but which also would knock off 2/3rds of my commute. But…, you know there’s always a but, they also have a joined high school branch* with the school my kids go to, the high school branch my kid enters next year, a high school branch I’m qualified to teach. Also, I like my school and I know that the principal there is fighting tooth and nail to keep me. Give her another year and the ministry will give me a permanent contract just to get rid of her. That’s an asset you don’t give up easily, so i texted her that unless she was able to work a miracle, I would have to take the offer. Well, she did work a miracle, I could switch with a teacher who was due to start at “my” school. So goodbye KWS (our school Instagram Account), hello, KWS! Another 6 months safe, and at least now I have a prospect of getting a permanent place. Also, I’ll be turning 45 next year, that’s the upper age limit for tenure, so I’ll become cheaper to hire, staying an eternal employee (no problem there). Oh, do I need to mention that my position as special ed teacher there is now vacant?
And with all those good news, I’ll fuck off to Ireland on Monday. Let’s see if I manage to post some sightseeing pics.
*Germany doesn’t have middle and high school. We have primary school (1-4 (6 in some states)) and secondary school (5-13), though some teachers are only qualified to teach until year 9 or 10.