I am rounding off my time working on establishing a bilingual program here in Leipzig. When I reflect on what I have learned, the number one thing surprises me. Yes, I have seen the continuity and change that motherhood brings to working pedagogically again. Yes, bilingualism within an institution is different to the domestic experience I previously had. For both insights I am profoundly thankful.
I have seen that teachers who are kind will have the greatest impact upon their students. If kindness is your base value, other values must follow - such are a passion for fairness, equity, dignity. Dignity leads to coming to the place where your children are, and accepting a role as constructive collaborator. It means remembering your own desire for respect and worth, and wanting to treat others as you prefer to be treated. Sometimes that requires a suspension of disbelief, with a critical eye to your own established way of seeing and thinking. As the great thinker Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak vitally concludes 'we have to learn to unlearn' so that we can recover that connection with our students, or anyone we meet for that matter.
I will hope for the best for my students. I will hope for continued and evolving critical practise for my colleagues. I will hope for a renewal of education in this country, as it continues to struggle with its educational history, cultural paradigms, and the expectations of politicians and the public. My current work is on investigating the achievement levels of migrants at school in Germany. There is a continuity of purpose and vision in my thinking, for which I am thankful.
I have been looking into national documents on 'quality assurance' in Early Childhood, which includes Cultural diversity. If you are interested in reading more, you can find my profile on academia.edu . But the time has come for me to return to my first love, schooling. I am enrolled to study German full time at the intermediate level, which will also help me to continue to reflect critically on language acquistion and comparative linguistics.
Thereafter, I hope to land in a classroom and continue to combine classroom practise with continued studies in International education. I am moving into the unknown again, but am hopeful of good things ahead.