Only this time, losing was a lot harder. Yep, there’s a parent council at Ignatz’s school too, and remember me being one of seven candidates at the Sniglet’s school? Um. There were fewer, this time. That is to say, there were none. Less than none: not only no volunteers, but no one who was willing to be drafted. I even asked Ignatz, awhile back, if Mrs Lallet’s daughter signed up for French (I was pretty sure she would, and I was right), because I was wondering if we’d have to elect a new speaker this year.
Okay, quick background on German schools. Umm, one thing is that they provide basic religious instruction here (four separate classes: Catholicism, Lutheranism (remember, Europe doesn’t have a zillion little freaked-out variants of basic Protestantism – they sent all those weirdos to the Americas in the 18th century), Islam, and ethics), which I think is a good thing because they don’t tell the kids that they have to believe it all, but they do tell them the stories, which are a good thing to know so that when they read or hear about a pillar of salt or a widow’s mite, they know what that means. It’s the same reason I think English speakers should at least read Shakespeare, because half of what you read has some figure of speech or metaphor drawn from one of his plays, and you want to know what’s going on.
Anyway. What I DON’T like, and what would be soundly illegal in the U.S., is that they divide the kids into classes by religion. They do this because it makes scheduling classes easier, and I understand that, but of course in the States it’s been well-established that administrative convenience does not justify sex discrimination (Reed v. Reed, 1971), so I’m guessing it wouldn’t be an acceptable excuse for religious segregation either. Anyway. We’ve protested, but there’s nothing we can do on our own, so, you know, whatever.
So they keep those classes together until sixth grade. Halfway through fifth grade, each student chooses what second foreign language they’ll start next year (the first is English, started in third grade, and it’s compulsory) – our school offers Latin and French. Then in sixth grade, they’re divided up by language, again to make scheduling easier. So that’s why it mattered that Mrs Lallet’s kid took French, because she wouldn’t be in my son’s class anymore, and we didn’t have an automatic speaker. We had to elect one.
It’s very difficult not to make eye contact with 25 people all at once, even if you’re sitting all the way in the back of the classroom, as I was. Nobody wanted the job, and finally the teacher went around the room and made each of us say why we couldn’t do it – the person with the most pathetic excuse would then be dragooned into acting as the parent-teacher liaison. My excuse was twofold: I’m a foreigner and I only understand about half of what is said to me; and my husband works out of town so I’m not available in the evenings because I have to be home with the demon spawn. It worked, I don’t have to do it, but it was a harrowing evening. I think I may just volunteer next year, to save us all the trauma.
That is, if things have settled down. I’ve just moved house, and have to finish up my server-side technology course and look for a job. Once I get a job, I will be like a normal person, in that when people ask what I’ll be doing in six months, I’ll probably know. As it is, I might could squeeze in a few evening hours a week right now, probably, but I don’t know if that’ll still be true in two months, or four months, or six months, so I can’t commit to something that’ll last through next July.
Of course, if DrBob gets a job anywhere other than Munich, he’ll be out of town all semester, and I really won’t have any evenings free until the Sniglet’s old enough to be left home alone. Oook.
Song du jour of the day: Don’t Fear the Reaper.
Two people have now sent me this song, which is doubleplusgood, because I can throw away that ancient Blue Öyster Cult tape which I only kept because of that one song. Yes, a cassette tape, an ancient means of recording data – the damn thing’s older than Samirah, but not as old as Monty and me (yes, I know it should be Monty and I, but Monty and me is so nice and alliterative – besides, language rules are effectively shaped by common usage, and we may not want to accept the validity of this particular construction, but it will be legalized someday – maybe not in our lifetimes, but it won’t be much longer. I’ll betcha). And yes, I have loved the song since I was six, even though I will never again be able to hear it without saying to myself, “Needs more cowbell.”