Lots of talk has been going on in all forums and media about the refugee crisis in Europe over the past months. A major problem for people who can actually have a relevant effect on events seems to be having to navigate between the Scylla of generous humanitarian help and the Charybdis of strict rejection.

As far as I know, the Netherlands is fairly quiet about the matter as the brunt of the problem seems to have to be borne by Southern- and Eastern-European countries, Austria, Germany and Sweden, but I know of situations where the “my home is my castle” notion has already come to work at a few places here where real refugees in actual neighbourhoods were planned to be lodged.

The Netherlands has been one of a few countries, in my view, which has a history of taking perhaps the singularly most important helpful action in the event of receiving refugees, the importance of which Germany has just been getting acquainted with: teaching the language of the host nation. When I was young, geography classes dealt with how many Turkish temporary workers were employed in Germany. Since we were informed that they actually remained in Germany for a long time and took over jobs that Germans themselves were loth to do, I’ve always thought they were integrated into the society. In the political turmoil of recent months, I’ve been proven wrong.

Well, I’m one of the beneficiaries of Dutch efficiency about teaching Dutch to foreigners as I’ve already described earlier. In line with that system, the other day I received an invitation to help teach Dutch to refugees in Gelderland here as I’m still registered with a number of intermediary organizations. Here is the text of the letter:

“U staat bij ons ingeschreven en momenteel zoeken we naar meerdere docenten NT2 voor diverse locaties en dagdelen. Het gaat om lessen NT2 aan vluchtelingen.
We zijn op zoek naar ZZP-ers, met een CRKBO erkenning (of in ieder geval BTW vrij factureren). Ik benader u nu via een algemene mailing, dus indien u geen ZZP-er bent dan alvast excuus dat ik u deze mail en vacature heb gestuurd.”

Being a language teacher to the core, a ZZP-er providing BTW invoices, and a sort of “economic refugee” myself, and having passed the NT2 exam, I jumped to the occasion. I can at last do something in return for what this system has done for me and a lot of my friends, one of whom, out of Iraq, has just received his PhD at Utrecht University as a microbiologist, so the investment into the language first and foremost may pay off wonderful dividends for those concerned.

Under the link provided in the e-mail, the important points concerning the jobs (needs!) are as follows (I’m not translating this text either – it doesn’t matter for those who don’t understand it, but those who may actually be interested in trying to take one of these positions have to understand it anyway):

“Voor onze opdrachtgever, met diverse locaties in het land, zjin we met spoed op zoek naar ervaren docenten NT2 voor minimaal 3 dagdelen per week. Het betreft een reguliere vacature.

Voor de vacature zoeken we docenten (ZZP-ers met een CRKBO erkenning) die ruime ervaring hebben met het geven van NT2 lessen en ervaring heeft met meerdere niveau’s in 1 groep.
Hieronder een overzicht van de locaties en de dagdelen:

  • Culemborg – exacte lesdagen en tijden nog niet bekend – Startdatum 18-01-2016;
  • Epe – lesdagen: woensdag en vrijdagochtend – Startdatum 20-01-2016;
  • Schijndel – lesdagen: maandag, dinsdag en donderdagochtend – startdatum 26-01-2016;
  • Ede – exacte lesdagen en tijden nog niet bekend – Startdatum 08-02-2016;
  • Wageningen – exacte lesdagen en tijden nog niet bekend – Startdatum 15-02-2016;
  • Zutphen – lesdagen: woensdag en vrijdagmiddag – Startdatum 24-02-2016;
  • Ede – exacte lesdagen en tijden nog niet bekend – Startdatum 14-03-2016, 2 groepen van 2 of 3 dagdelen

Heb je ruime ervaring met het verzorgen van NT2 aan vluchtelingen, ben je langere tijd beschikbaar voor een groep op de bovengenoemde locatie en dagdelen? Ben je ZZP-er die BTW vrij kan factureren? Dan ontvangen wij graag jouw motivatie en cv!

De docent die we zoeken:

  • beschikt over een Post HBO NT2, een certificaat NT2 of;
  • beschikt over een Bevoegdheid Basiseducatie of BVE
  • heeft ruime ervaring met het verzorgen van lessen NT2;
  • is ZZP-er en in bezit van VAR WUO of DGA
  • heeft een CRKBO erkenning en/of kan BTW vrij factureren;
  • is beschikbaar voor minimaal 3 dagdelen per week
  • heeft bij voorkeur ervaring met de methodes 7/43, Taalcompleet (Kleurrijker) , Op maat sprong en De Finale”

Here is the link to the site with this and more information, for example about fees offered.

If you consider applying, beware: you really have to fulfil ALL of the above conditions! Consider this: after being invited and having applied, I received no answer for a few days, but a repeat of the invitation (“Wellicht is deze mail aan uw aandacht ontsnapt, vandaar dat ik u nogmaals aanschrijf”). In answer to my second letter reinforcing my intent, I received a flat rejection saying that they are looking for people who fully comply with the requirements.

And here I see a sort of a problem with the system. They are intent on setting up courses, but a week before some of them (are planned to) start, they’re still short of teachers. I doubt again that there are a lot of teachers around who are actually free several mornings of the week and have nothing better to do in the middle of the academic year, and who, further, have not only the enthusiasm but also ‘a lot of experience teaching refugees’ with the particular materials and can provide invoices as ZZP-ers. Most teachers are not ZZP-ers. They teach at schools. They are the ones that taught me and my friends. Those who are ZZP-ers here teach English, not Dutch, and to all kinds of Dutch people at companies and businesses, not to refugees. And quite some of them (hope I’m wrong) actually do not agree with helping refugees in the first place. I mean they are probably British people with a certain degree of notoriety about rejecting foreigners settling down in their country.

So, despite the nice idea, who are going to teach a few hundred refugees in East Netherlands? Not me – I haven’t got the experience, and as a result, never will acquire it, however much I’d like to. Perhaps you? Don’t hesitate, apply if you’d like to do something for a better, still peaceful Europe.

by P.S.