Yesterday the German received a life sentence. No, he is not responsible for the recent crime spree in Wildeshausen. Yesterday he received his permanent civil servant status.
As a teacher in Germany, the German is considered a civil servant. Teachers here undergo rigorous training. First, after 4 to 5 years of university, where you major in education and minor in the subjects that you will teach, you must endure 1 1/2 years of student teaching. During this time you teach a full class load and attend a seminar once a week where pedagogical things are discussed. A potential teacher is also observed several times, must write a final paper and pass an oral exam. After that you enter the system as a teacher.
However, your first three years are considered something of a trial time. After three years you are once again observed during your teaching and have to submit a paper. If your principal feels that you have done well then you become a permanent teacher / civil servant.
The German has worked so hard to get to this point. When he was 20 we wanted to do something practical, so he became a banker. After doing that for a few years, he felt like he was selling his soul. The red carpet was rolled out for rich customers, whereas people who needed real help were given the cold shoulder. He decided to do something for his society and became a teacher.
The German teaches vocational school and does not always agree with the training he received. He often comes home frustrated because a lot of what was taught and what he learned did not prepare him for the day-to-day realities of the classroom. He teaches in a school in a pretty bad neighborhood in Bremen. There are about 75 different nationalities represented among his students. Most of the students either lack the basic knowledge needed for their classes or are so demotivated because they feel that they have no real future. "How do you teach these kids?" he asks me time and again.
Becoming a civil servant was the last major goal that he had to accomplish. When he came home last night we had some sparkling wine and toasted his achievement. He smiled and leaned back into the sofa. Then he looked at me with a bit of panic. "Now what?" he asked.