My original plan when I began this job, was to stay at WolfertPRO for about 3 years. I have heard very mixed reviews from the Management. At first they were very excited about their Native Speaker, then they thought I wouldn't last for 6 months, then I was one of the best new teachers, they had, then a couple months ago I was told to search for another job. Strange. The only thing I have seen in my performance from my perspective is consistency and growth.
As I was recently told to keep an eye out for a new job, this process was given a jump-start by the management on Monday. They arranged for me to visit two schools that are a part of the Wolfert group. These two schools have lessons taught in English and they are at higher levels. One, Wolfert Tweetalig, is a Dutch school at the intermediate and highest tracks - it is the first school to start with the bilingual concept. The second is an international school, RISS, so they deal with a separate curriculum.
The visits went quite well. At Tweetalig I was impressed by the warm atmosphere. The staff seemed relaxed and mostly positive. The students had plenty of energy, but when the teachers were talking, they were listening. When they ran into a problem they weren't sure how to solve, they didn't simply give up. This was all in stark contrast to WolfertPRO.
RISS had a nice, small environment. Definitely a different feel. Quite academic and quiet. The students I observed there were a bit older so it was hard to make a fair behavior comparison. I felt that the dynamic, vibrant atmosphere of Tweetalig was left behind as I crossed over into the slower, scholarly corridor of RISS.
Either school would be a much less stressful environment for me to teach in. My preference would be for Tweetalig, if an opportunity should arise. I am happy to have started out at WolfertPRO as I have learned and am still learning things I would not encounter elsewhere, but the time to move on to a higher level of education is approaching sooner than I had originally anticipated. I hope that something will work out for next year.
The next day, the urgency of these hopes crystallized. I had a visit by a government inspector who came to see that my American teaching certification could be transferred to the Dutch system. I was told this would be a simple process, but it decidedly is not. I have had to jump though all sorts of hoops but this was supposed to be one of the final steps.
The inspector showed up ten minutes late and was in general very rude and disinterested. At the end of the lesson he didn't want to speak English, but eventually told me that because I didn't speak Dutch I couldn't have a Dutch teaching certification. I brought him to the director to discuss things but he didn't want to stay for long - we were clearly wasting his time. He said that he was not impressed with the lesson (although I thought it went quite well) but that he wouldn't discuss it with me because I don't speak Dutch.
This whole situation is very strange because the Dutch people want to speak English, so they have set up a bilingual education system. These schools want Native Speakers, but the government is not willing to give them the ability to teach on a long-term basis unless they learn Dutch? Why learn Dutch when you are hired to speak English? Something is wrong with this logic. I am planning to learn Dutch anyway, but my priorities have been elsewhere during the past couple years.
I survived the teaching on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was meant to be a day of half teaching, and half visiting a workshop at a nearby greenhouse. I was meant to go with a colleague and we had planned to bike there. The ride would have been 45 minutes. Unfortunately, he had trouble finding a bike, and by the time someone offered to give him a ride, it was too late for me to bike there on time. If I joined in the car, I would need a ride back, which was an uncertainty. I didn't want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere, so I chose not to attend the workshop. I found the whole situation rather upsetting, because I don't like signing up for something and then canceling at the last minute.
The cancellation did give me an early start to the weekend, which was much needed, because I still feel like my body is fighting off a bit of a virus. Yesterday we had a great time of doing nothing. Today we will check out a Samurai display at the World Museum. Quite a nice weekend!