Sunday, June 12, 2016

New and old challenges

It’s been a week with different kinds of challenges.
On Monday all day and Tuesday morning I started teaching an official class for refugees. It’s sponsored by the Jobcenter and not supposed to be a straight German class, but is aiming to ‘prepare for the jobmarket’: learn how to write a CV, search for a job, present oneself in a job interview etc. However, the system of acquiring participants for the class has been, to put it mildly, not exactly goal oriented. Out of the 25 people who showed up on the first day, only 4 were suitable for that course, if that many. All the others need – and want – a straight German class for beginners, or even to start with alphabetization. Their frustration at being forced to take this particular class – if they don’t come regularly, their allowances will be cut – was understandable, but vented towards me. My frustration at the course design, on the other hand, could only be vented towards the organizers, who themselves were not the ones responsible for the recruitment for the course, and kept telling me “this is often the case – the students have very different levels and you just have to orient yourself along the medium range.”
I have to admit that I couldn’t take this easily. This is a complete waste of money, and I consider it totally disrespectful of anybody connected with the class, the participants as well as the teachers. The participants want to learn German, but have not been given a German class. Now they are being forced to go to and sit through a class which is not helpful for most of them, but if they don’t go, they will be getting less money (some of wich all of them send home to their families). And those participants, who could already well use a class like this as well, because their frustration is caused by the fact that now that finally something is happening in terms of help towards finding a job, the slower or less capable students are holding everything back. And the teacher does not have the liberty to cater to the real needs of most of the participants because the topic of the class is set and must not be changed!  What a mess!

On Wednesday I packed the car with all my boxes of fabric to go to Nadelwelt Karlsruhe. Luckily the restoration of the Autobahn has progressed so far that most of the construction sites are finished, it is now a six-lane highway most of the way between Munich and Stuttgart, and that makes quite a difference. It took a good half an hour less to get to Karlsruhe.
For setting up the stand I was at first allowed to drive right up to my new position for unloading. In the past years I had always disliked the people who did that, especially when packing up. It blocks the alleys, and makes life extremely difficult for those who don’t have their car in the hall. But it sure was comfortable for unloading!

For packing up later today, however, I am not planning on bringing in the car. I have secured myself a close enough parking space and will wheel my boxes out just as I have always done. Don’t want to get involved in those car-related fights when all I want to do is pack up quickly and go home!

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