After the escape: the Ukrainian works in the Löbau school
Nataliia Hrytskevych is a German teacher and quickly found a job. Why she wanted to go to Löbau and how lucky she has been in the last few weeks.
If we can speak of “luck” in relation to the war in Ukraine, Nataliia Hrytskevych has made a lot of it in recent weeks. The 48-year-old has now arrived in Löbau with her 30-year-old daughter and 1.5-year-old granddaughter after a three-day flight through Hungary in early March. You were lucky enough to move into an apartment from the Sparkasse on the Altmarkt, made available to refugees. And she too, the teacher of German, Ethics and Ukrainian has had a job for almost a month: she is employed on a temporary basis with the Free State and is assigned to the primary school “Am Löbauer Berg”.
So far he has supervised a Ukrainian student. Makar is eight years old and above all he likes math “He calculates very well in his head”, says his teacher with a smile and gives an encouraging nod to the blond boy. But sometimes he gets bored all alone. Actually now he would be in a third class, but in Löbau he gives solo lessons. Still. First he must have learned enough German. Director Ortrun Kurth is optimistic about Makar. She is also happy that her new colleague is so open and committed. “He has to adapt a little, because he also taught the older students in Ukraine,” says the director. But she always asks her colleagues for advice and comes up with a lot of ideas. Lucky for both sides.
“In Ukraine, students learn together until the tenth grade,” says Nataliia Hrytskevych, describing what she is used to from her homeland. Before the war and before her Corona, she worked in a school in the Zhytomyr region, about 150 kilometers west of Kiev. “I taught German and ethics to students up to the fourth grade and Ukrainian to upper grades,” she says.
Widely used online tutoring help
Electronic cards, laptops, learning software – Ukraine knows all this from its homeland. Online learning in particular has gained tremendous importance from Corona, he adds. Again and again she and Makar manage the boy’s cell phone, on which learning videos are running and activities are saved. “I am doing what I love to do here: teaching. I am very grateful for that,” emphasizes Hrytskevych.
The Ukrainian teacher was already familiar with “his” new school – the Löbau-Ost primary school – before he started teaching here: “My sister has been living in Löbau for 20 years and my niece has gone to this school,” he says. About three years ago – that is, before her Corona – she had last visited her family members here. Her sister had been asking her for some time to come to her, but Nataliia Hrytskevych has always refused: “I didn’t think war would break out”, she stresses. When it came to this, she didn’t want to leave her her husband. She went to Kiev and volunteered, now serving in the National Guard.
Again and again he falters when he speaks. The pain of separation, fear, memories of air raids, bullet holes in her car, her escape and destruction in her hometown flood her eyes with tears. “The city is not that big, a bit like Löbau. Many private houses and a school were destroyed by bombs and a hospital was damaged,” she says, showing her photos on her cell phone. But difficult as it is, in everyday life Nataliia Hrytskevych puts aside her worries. The topic is also taboo with Makar, who fled with his parents and three brothers and now lives in Löbau. The wounds are too fresh.
Nataliia Hrytskevych wishes to be able to return to her homeland. She only decided to flee because of her granddaughter, she wanted to know that she was safe. Löbau was a good destination to live in her sister. She lived with her sister for the first time with her with her daughter and her niece, but there was not enough room for everyone. For Nataliia Hrytskevych, it is a wonderful coincidence that the savings bank has made the apartment available to them and that a staff member has applied for a job at the school. And also for the principal: the employee Sparkasse is a member of the parents’ council of the elementary school.
15 Ukrainian teachers hired in Upper Lusatia
Like Nataliia Hrytskevych, 20 teachers for Ukrainian preparatory classes were hired in the Bautzen area of the State Office for Schools and Education (Lasub) “on the basis of an employment decree”. “These are 15 teachers from Ukraine,” state office spokeswoman Petra Nikolov said when asked by SZ. The Free State is still looking for support. Positions are initially limited until the end of July. The spokesperson stresses that there is “no deviation of ‘normal’ teachers to teach Ukrainian children”. Ukrainian children are looked after by existing teachers in schools or taught separately in Ukrainian preparatory classes. But then “never from existing regular teachers”.
Above all, Nataliia Hrytskevych is grateful. This really motivates them to help. “I want to be useful, I have the advantage of being able to communicate,” she explains. In addition to school work, you also teach German to fellow countrymen who have fled to live more independently. You know all too well how important it is.