Temporary Staff Member

at Democratic Schools

More thoughts on the financial requirements

Personally speaking, I find it very important that at a democratic school there is no distinction between contributions of higher or lower value to the functioning of the school. In my view, meeting at the same eye level, as we all wish to approach our kids, also has to be the basis for cooperation among adults. For me, it is irrelevant whether it is a staff member's very first day or he/she has been there for a couple of years. Everyone contributes to the success of the day with their personality and presence.

In encounters with a person coming for a shorter period from a foreign country, there are many interpersonal and intercultural processes that cannot be provided by a long-time resident staff member. Communicating in a foreign language alone, when necessary for an exchange of thoughts in which you cannot fall back on your own language, leads to the activation and linking of new brain areas. Also culturally this encounter is about personal enrichment on a different level, which usually does not end when the school day is over. The people involved come in contact on a personal level − members of staff, students and also parents approach the temporary member of the community, or vice versa. To come together in this way means inspiration on multiple levels, in many areas of life. − Many things a permanent staff member can contribute in the 'everyday' democratic school life cannot be offered by a temporary contributor. But the reverse is also true. What I mean by that, and what I have already experienced, also implies that I will not be able to offer the Sudbury School in Munich all these advantages as a regular staff member in the future. They can only be provided by a person who is present temporarily, a stranger.

It is only possible to offer the service of being a temporary staff member on a sufficient financial basis. As a travelling teacher I have to cover travel expenses and accommodation in addition to my rent at home in Munich. Taken as a whole, looking at financial aspects only, even with equal pay, it is rather a loss-making deal. As a self-employed person, I would probably earn more by staying at home. However, on the social level and in relation to a widening horizon for all people involved, such an experience is an absolute enrichment − in my experience so far, for staff members, students and parents, as well as for myself.

Considering all these aspects, a school community who wishes to take advantage of this offer will make a conscious decision to welcome my contribution as one of equal value. In this way, it will be an investment in the future development both for the school and for me.

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