Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Self-control is important in this job

A little while back I received an e-mail from someone in the German Ministry of Something-or-other requesting information about one of our Basic English students, who had already returned home to Germany. The official needed the information to determine whether this student was eligible for student health benefits as part of her parents' household.

I replied that this student needed to complete and sign a FERPA (Family Educational Records and Privacy Act) form and return it to me so that I could release the information. Simple enough, yes?


I soon got a response from the official that there was no need for the student to sign a form. I needed to provide the information in accordance with German federal law.

Honestly, at times it's hard to maintain a professional demeanor. I had a terribly big urge to write her back and say, "Um, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but y'all lost the war."

Instead, I politely explained that I appreciated her situation, but I was bound by U.S. federal law. Fortunately, she got the message and agreed to contact the student to have the form signed and returned to me.

Sometimes I'm very proud of my self-control.