There is one single moment in a German teacher’s life that is more important than others: the moment when a trivial-looking brown envelope is opened and the final exams for the 13th graders are pulled from it. Of three topics, two are returned from the state government via mail and from those, each candidate can choose the one he/she would like to work on. It usually takes a few minutes of ceremonial brouhaha and leg work to hand those two topics out to each candidate and then everyone has approximately 15 to 20 minutes to select one from the more or less adequate offerings.

That single moment mentioned above happens when, upon receipt, each student quickly flips to the actual questions/exercises and within a few seconds evaluates if he/she has hit a/the jackpot.

Then you get either smiles or … severely  twisted face expressions of varying shades and colours, mostly depending on the degree of preparation.

Today, diplomatically displayed or not, my thirteen higher-level Social Studies candidates mostly smiled. Two people (both female) stood out today and I would like to award prizes* for the best smiles.


First place, by far, goes to S., who lit up the dark right-hand corner (from my vantage point) of a huge room with the widest grin I have ever seen in that particular room. I don’t even want to speculate on what was behind that grin (and the turmoil that might have preceded it), but when viewed from the front of the room, the second coming of Christ was happening in that very corner. At least twice. Probably three times.

Second place: On the other side, N. tried not to rival that religious experience going on over on the other side of the room, but her slightly toned-down smile (which was actually equally bright) broadcast the same emotion: “YES! Home run!


Now it’s up to me to decide if those smiles were indeed warranted.
I hope they were.
In two weeks I’ll know more.


*First prize: Three cocktails or less intoxicating beverages of your choice.
*Second prize: Two cocktails or less intoxicating beverages of your choice.
*Third prize: Everyone else gets one cocktail or less intoxicating beverage of his/her choice.


P.S.: If you’d rather eat, you get three, two or one apple(s). 😉

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

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