Category Archives: Education
The Honorarlehrer in Germany
In Europe we have various categories of second-class workers, and one of these is the Honorarlehrer. These are qualified teachers employed for specific courses and/or classes only and paid a fee when the totality of the work is completed. What’s the problem then? Well, this fee-paid, short-term, ad hoc basis for specific tasks is fine as originally established for lawyers, architects, doctors and the like, and also my Steuerberater (tax advisor), who charges 60€ an hour.
Teachers, however, are not paid on the same scale and do not enjoy the considerable advantages accorded to those with a “proper” job, a beast becoming increasingly rare in the EU. The Honorarlehrer in fact labours under the following DISadvantages:
The life of an Honorarlehrer is precarious – you never know if and when you will be able to find enough work to keep you off the streets and/or away from the state begging bowl.
You get NO holiday payment, NO health insurance payment, NO contribution to a pension and NOTHING AT ALL if you can’t work because you are ill.
So you can’t afford to be ill because A) you immediately lose money and B) there is a good chance your employer will take on someone else next time who in their estimation is less likely to be ill.
You also have more difficulty than salaried workers in getting bankloans, specifically and most importantly if you seek to buy a house, since you cannot guarantee a regular income to a bank.
In ADDITION to all the above, in many cases Honorarlehrer doing a three-month course are not even paid until the END of this period, but no explanation is forthcoming from the employer as to what their staff are supposed to live on while waiting to be paid.
On top of this, it is in the regulations that staff who have worked diligently a FULL THREE MONTHS will ONLY get paid if they fill in some paperwork correctly.
Salaried employees on the other hand none of the above disadvantages, and among “salaried employers” we must of course include the university bosses and administrators who make and organise the system of Honorarlehrer.
And why is this practice prevalent in Europe? It is of course far cheaper. Employers have no insurance, holiday or pension money to pay for a start, and obviously have reduced personnel costs. An added bonus is that the workforce is fragmented, which mitigates against any possible form of collective bargaining. The consequence of all this is that it is almost impossible to get a proper, full-time, properly paid job in the teaching profession – unless you work for the state, whose employees are thus massively advantaged over the private sector, including remuneration levels. It seems that a Doctorate is about the minimum possible qualification required in order to get a job administering teachers who have no hope of ever getting a “proper” job, no matter how good a teacher or indeed teaching administrator they might be
C’est la vie, but it isn’t particularly moral, is it?
As for the administrators who remind their hired staff that they will ONLY get paid – even after three months of diligent and professional work – if they complete certain paperwork, I am not sure if they have understood that this is an unacceptable threat. Firstly, the people they hire are qualified professionals who understand the rules (immoral though they may be) and would in normal circumstances not dream of not doing their best to comply. Therefore, being the conscientious professionals that they are, it is insulting to be threatened with the withholding of reimbursement for work already done OVER THREE MONTHS.
A manager’s primary task is to keep the workers happy. Unhappy workers = poor results and eventually no staff and the collapse of the enterprise, except of course that universities and their departments – like the banks – are too important to fail.The correct procedure – given these immoral rules – is to state them clearly at the beginning of the work, and then re-explain what teachers are supposed to do at the END of the work WITHOUT the accompanying threats. In those RARE cases where a hireling does NOT complete the required tasks then in THIS case the authorities should take the matter up with the individual concerned and not issue a pre-emptive general threat to ALL the hirelings.
As for the failure to pay workers until the end of a period of three months, it is astonishing to me that this can – in the wonderful, Nobel-Peace-Prize winning EU (Let’s forget that it was the Allies that saved Europe from fascism during the last war and from “communism” after it) – even be legal. The EU is about equality and justice, and I fail to see how an Honorarlehrer is in ANY way equal to a salaried university teacher or administrator. There IS no equality there at all. At the VERY LEAST we should be paid MONTHLY, just like the people who hire us. Yes, this would cost the university a bit of time and even money, but so be it.
This Honorar system is not confined to Germany. It may even be an essential way that the teaching of ad hoc courses has to be organized, but that does not lessen our sympathy for the difficulties faced by the victims of this system, which is – as previously stated – ever more common in Europe. We Honorarlehrer do not usually complain; there are things in life one has to accept, but the contrapartie is that fully-salaried administrators should appreciate their vastly advantageous positions and show more respect for those who actually do the work.
“The British public will always react well if they are given a good plan, guidance and clarity. Sadly, our government has let us down on all fronts. Education is the key here. We need to give people the knowledge to be able to make better choices before we start making empty noises about encouraging people to eat better food. I have seen myself that giving practical information and teaching within schools and communities can make a real difference. We need more practical help and less hot air.”
So, when an obese child waddles down the street stuffing its gob with crisps it’s the government’s fault? Thank you Jamie. Now we know.
Your article is rubbish of course. Anyone who doesn’t already know how to eat healthily is a MORON. The problem is, Jamie, that these people DON’T CARE.
If you DID care, then when you got obese, don’t you think you’d WONDER WHY? and then FIND OUT? And DO something about it?
Schools TEACH this stuff, but the wonderful people you bang on about DON’T CARE. The KIDS don’t care. They listen to Miss Muppet telling them all this in biology or life-sciences or Homemaking/Domestic Science or whatever they do then when the bell goes they rush off for their Mars Bars and crisps. A school banned burgers and chips once and mothers turned up at lunchtime to feed their starving kids through the railings.
You have a bizarrely rose-tinted view of the masses. I am as depressed about this obesity epidemic as anyone, especially as it is essentially down to laziness, fecklessness, greed …. all among the least attractive aspects of Homo Sapiens. It is indeed astonishing how Man just cannot control his greed. The Chinese and Indian middle-classes ALL have this problem, just like in the west.
However, it can only be cured by a return to individual responsibility; for oneself and for one’s children.
You say you have seen what intervention can do. The trouble is, you are famous and charismatic, and the plebs only pay attention to anyone famous. If you go to a school, then of course it’ll have a short-term effect, but how many schools can you go to? Miss Muppet in form 4D of Cesspit Comprehensive is neither famous nor charismatic …..
Sorry mate – you’re living on another planet. Still, carry on bashing the government if you must; everyone else does, as it’s never the personal fault of anyone else of course. What was your take on the rioters?
Pupils from poorest backgrounds
stand one in 100 chance of top university
Is this supposed to be surprising or shocking? If you want to give every kid an equal chance then you must equalise incomes and wealth and make sure that everyone can live in a posh area with good schools.
Not possible? Fine, then forget about all this research crap about “kids from poor backgrounds”. It’s OLD HAT. They are INEVITABLY disadvantaged and until society is more equal (if that is what you want) stop dreaming.
As for giving bright kids from poor backgrounds a better chance, bring back the grammar schools. At present, you have selection by wealth. Can ANYONE explain how this is better than selection by intelligence and achievement?
And WOE BETIDE you if you are the poor parents of a bright kid who try to get him or her into a “nice” school outside your catchment ghetto! The LAW and of course the COUNCIL will fall on you like a ton of bricks as someone who is “trying to cheat the system.”
As for “equality of opportunity” (only possible of course with equalish wealth), I can only assume that the majority of people DON’T want it since they keep voting for governments whose policies always result in an INCREASE in inequality. (see bankers, judges, footballers, council leaders, top policemen, government consultants etc etc under Labour from 1997 to 2010).
You couldn’t make it up.
Lesson plans have been drawn up for pupils as young as four, in a scheme funded with a £35,000 grant from an education quango, the Training and Development Agency for Schools. The initiative will be officially launched next month at the start of “LGBT History Month” – an initiative to encourage teaching about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual issues.
The lesson plans, spread across the curriculum, will be offered to all schools, which can choose whether or not to make use of them.
How did WE manage without that? Poor old us; we only had maths, English, French, Science, History and stuff ….. What a perverted and unbalanced lot we who were in the late 50s must be, never having had lessons on homosexuality, transexuality and all these other “issues”. No wonder the older generation is totally messed up …..
So, eight-year-old Romeo Beckham is now “a fashion icon” ……. Apparently he is “frighteningly tuned-in”, is “so into fashion” and has been pestering his parents about “designing his own sunglasses.”
“The other boys are all about going to the beach; he’s not interested.”
Is this supposed to IMPRESS us?
So, while celebs educate their kids in the really important things in life and encourage them to eschew anything that a normal eight-year-old might consider as fun the rest of us get on with social and economic meltdown against a backdrop of global warming.
Perhaps this is what Blair meant by “Education, education, education”? He certainly can’t have been referring to the real world of the millions he was elected to represent; latest EU figures show Britain has more “Neets” than Rumania, Bulgaria and Greece.
Meanwhile, as one who is clearly not “tuned-in” at all, is there a paper I can read that has no reference to nauseating, brainless and irrelevant celebs whatsoever? Is “The Financial Times” my only hope? Or maybe “Socialist Worker”? or “The Ugley Women’s Institute Gazette”? Any ideas welcome …..
“Sir Andrew described scrapping the grant as an “act of gross cultural vandalism” while Mr Pullman – the author of the His Dark Materials trilogy – accused the Government of “wanton destruction”.
“Sheer stupid vandalism, like smashing Champagne bottles as a drunken undergraduate,” Mr Pullman told The Observer. “If you miss the first years of a child’s development, nothing can clear it up. It’s gone. It won’t happen. A whole generation will lose out.”
Blog Comment: If people can’t afford to buy books for their children, that means that they’re in really serious financial trouble and shouldn’t have children. Second hand books are widely available from 5p from charity shops, church stalls etc, but they’re available free in public libraries. In this country it’s never ever the case that they don’t have the money, they just prefer to spend what they have on Sky rather than books. That’s their choice, but they have the right to make that choice, and taxpayers don’t have a role in taking over their parenting duties.
VERY GOOD – This is the sort of commonsense that so many people seem incapable of understanding. If there is a problem with kids’ reading today IT IS THE PARENTS’ FAULT. It is EASY to get hold of books; libraries, second hand books from charity shops are practically given away. And so on. The problem is not the availability of books but the fact that certain parents aren’t INTERESTED in books and DO NOT READ TO THEIR KIDS AT NIGHT, EVERY NIGHT. They DO NOT INSTILL IN THEM A LOVE OF READING.
Can’t afford it? ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. They can afford fags, booze, colour tellies, DVDs and all the rest, can’t they? And of course processed foods, pizzas, burgers, oven chips and all the rest which make their kids fat and are MORE EXPENSIVE than fresh fruit and veg.
Yet we get writers whingeing on as if the Tory government was evil. IT IS ALL UTTER RUBBISH. Some of the comments int “The Telegraph” article are truly moronic. But in general people are of course pathetic. EVERYBODY knows (or should do) that we HAVE to CUT BACK. The Labour Party whinge on about evil cuts yet THEY had proposed the SAME POLICY before the election, recognizing the catastrophe that Brown’s insanity has brought. Yet EVERY SINGLE GROUP that looks like losing out from the state trough WHINGES and MOANS. NOBODY says: “OK, not what I’d prefer, but the country is in crisis and everyone has to take some pain.”
This book thing is a prime example. As if maintenance of the current expenditure (= free state handout) is going to produce a country of avidly-reading kids but the nasty Tories are going to produce illiterates. SURREAL. We ALREADY have the illiterates and it is NOT BECAUSE THEY COULDN’T GET HOLD OF BOOKS.
Yes, I know the nasty, idle rich and bankers have to take a bigger hit, but that is ANOTHER question. It doesn’t change the FACTS re books.
Blair prattled on about “education, education, education”, but he failed to educate either the kids or more importantly their parents. Until the blame is put fair and square where it belongs then people will continue to blame the Tories, society or whatever, ANYTHING but themselves.
For CHRIST’S SAKE. My parents fought in the war. After we had NOTHING – hardly ever saw a BANANA, no pizzas, burgers, tellies, videos, computers …. CHRIST, were we deprived!!!!!!. YET WE MANAGED TO GET OUR HANDS ON BOOKS AND WE LEARNED TO READ AND SPELL.
How is it that university education today is a shambolic mess of low value-for-money and now about to rocket in price when it was so good when we did our degrees 40 years ago? At the University of Kent in Canterbury in 1969 I used to have every week several lectures, two 60-minute seminars (6 students per group) and one 60-minute “supervision” (two students at a time) … some students today get hardly any teaching and even then in ever larger groups. Lecturers often don’t turn up or send underlings such as PhD students in their place as they are “too busy” …..
What is this insanity about publishing all the time? University lecturers are FIRST teachers. If they want to write and publish stuff, that is THEIR AFFAIR in their OWN TIME; a lecturer should LECTURE and TEACH …..
This is more in the Mastermind category of “The Bleedin’ Obvious” of course, but so few seem to understand or care about the bleedin’ obvious these days. The country is – presumably – far richer than 40 years ago yet standards are falling. Can anyone explain this?