Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

In Triplicate, Bitte


May I mock the Germans? Oh please, please can I? It’s been so long.

This year is Daisy’s last year in kindergarten, so I thought it would be nice to offer to be on the PTA as one of her group’s two representatives. I did it when Lily was in her last year at KG, so I wanted to do the same for Daisy (plus the head teacher always cooks great food for PTA meetings). However the parents’ evening fell on a night when I was away in Berlin. I asked Daisy’s teacher to offer my name as a candidate, after which the group would vote. Since it’s a job no-one usually wants, I presumed merely by offering that it would be a done deal.

I return from Berlin, go to kindergarten the next day all curious to see if I indeed am on the PTA again or not. There’s a gaggle of mummies outside the classroom and I ask them what happened at the parents’ evening the night before. “No,” they tell me, “Mummy A and Mummy B have been chosen as the class PTA representatives.” Mummy A and Mummy B are none too pleased and look daggers at me.

“But, but,” I splutter, “I offered. I told Frau S (the teacher) that I would be happy to be one of the class representatives.”

They look at me witheringly. “We couldn’t consider your offer, because you didn’t submit your application in writing.”

Need I say more?


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

22 thoughts on “In Triplicate, Bitte

  1. For Kindergarten, no less! Did they make the kids sign out for the crayons, too?

  2. Darn PTA bureaucracy! That red tape in kindergarten is a killer.

  3. that’s absolutely classic.

  4. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

  5. Very very Teutonic. Rules are rules – and we won’t let you forget it! You’re no longer in the laissez faire Third World! 😉

  6. Btw, I’ve done your meme 🙂

  7. Oh, that is the funniest thing I’ve heard all day! Especially since I got “volunteered” to do some administrative work at my kids’ school today simply by showing my face…if they had to get offers in writing, no one would ever do it.

  8. Oh, for heaven’s sake! God forbid they should make an exception. Or inform people about the “applications for all volunteer positions must be in writing” rule ahead of time!

    Would it be permissable for Mummy A or B to suddenly be stricken with an allergy to PTA meetings and ask you to replace them?

  9. I belonged (notice the past tense) to a club where if you were not at meetings they were likely to elect you to some office or other. I’m not sure why this was considered a good idea. I mean, why would you put a person in charge of membership when they are not interested or able to come to meetings????

  10. aaaargh. very german indeed.

  11. Hilarious. Well, for those institutions-of-little-imagination, it serves them right. There was a way to get around the rule, but they obviously didn’t put their brains to work.

    The answer would have been for them to vote on block: put Mother A and Mother B and your name in a block vote. You can have up to three names to fill the position(s).

  12. Too funny! That’s why I homeschool, the politics and red tape would just drive me insane. I say I do it for my kids…really it’s all about me and my issues.

  13. You know, “Das muss schließlich alles seine Ordnung haben!”

    Our PTA (Elternvertretung?) vote was quite relaxed, the first two volunteers were voted by acclamation – I should think about challenging the vote 😉

  14. But the Germans don’t know how to be any other way, do they?

    Anyway, we mock because we love! 🙂

  15. I have not only laughed my head right off, but I also went and read this to several other people, who also laughed uproariously. Ohhhhh dear. Priceless.

  16. Charlotte, next time you need to submit something in writing to the Kindergarten, I think you should use the Jane Austen font. Have a look here: It might just make things more in Ordnung.

  17. Awww, come on!

    Princesses shouldn’t be required to submit *anything* in writing! The mere fact that Your Highness deigned to extend her sceptre over their PTA should have made them bow down in worship.

    Their loss, and your gain! 🙂

  18. For goodness’ sake! My daughter was at a german school for a year and there was definitely a lot more red tape there than at any other school we have ever been at!

  19. Ouch!

    Still, I’m not going mock the Germans for this, since round our way we’re hardly immune to such ridiculously bureaucratic procedures these days.

  20. Eh? So I take it Mummies A and B must have put in written applications then? So why were they looking daggers at you? This is one thing I find so hard about being a Mammy, all the silly politics. I think you might have had a lucky escape there.

  21. Don’t you love it? Austria is the same! They can be so darned complicated. At the same time they find us simplistic and lightly naive.

  22. Pingback: Guilty Pleasures « Charlotte’s Web

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