Thursday, March 30, 2017
Speaking their language*
I wasn't quite sure.
Nowhere on their list of accepted documents could I find it mentioned.
I couldn't tick a box.
I found the telephone number.
I checked the hours of opening.
Tuesday afternoon: 14:00-16:00.
Thursday morning: 9:30-11:30.
I telephoned at one of the specified times.
"Er, the Ministry of education considers that I am qualified to teach French. Will that do as proof that I can speak French?" I asked.
I was met by a sharp intake of breath, a counted silence and then a surprisingly friendly voice.
"Oh I don't know. I have never come across that question. I shall have to ask the ministry."
"But I am speaking with you. You can hear that I can speak French."
"Yes, but if I don't have the agreement from the ministry. I can't do anything about it."
After much toing and froing with the ministry a response came back.
The friendly voice telephoned me.
"The ministry has accepted that you can include a copy of your teaching of French certificate."
She saved me the 100 euros which it would have cost me to take a computerised test to get a stamped document to prove that I could speak French.
I looked at the boxes on the form.
None of the boxes corresponded to my case.
I telephoned the number.
A voice replied.
"Oh I don't know. We have never come across that question. We will have to study the instructions from the ministry."
There was a pause.
"What diplomas do you have?"
"Oh, that's foreign, so you don't have any proof of equivalences for your diploma."
"Well the minstry of education seems to have accepted the equivalence of my diplomas because they have employed me to be a teacher at one of their universities for the past 18 years. Isn't that proof?"
I was met with a sharp intake of breath, and a measured silence.
"We are changing the procedures at the moment. Just complete the form and send a cv."
"Couldn't a teacher evaluate my competences?"
"No teacher will see your application if administratively you don't have the necessary documents."
I put down the phone and set about writing a cv...again.
This, it appears is the story of my life.
I am not adapted to filling in or being filled in official boxes.
I consider myself a hopeless case.
I need to improve my bloody adaptability.
I need to learn to speak their language.
I need to be uniformly square, a correct size, not foreign, easy to file.
Tick, tick, tick, tick. Happiness.
People shouldn't be expected to think.
That's stressful and waste of administrative time.
Am I a nought or a cross?
Maybe I am a goddamned asterisk?*