El Rancho High School

Sandra Bauer prepares to begin a new chapter in her life

“I felt like the world was my oyster and I could pick my jewel.” A combination of “push and pull factors” prompted Marine Biology and Biology teacher Sandra Bauer to make the decision of moving to Germany at the end of this school year.

After teaching at El Rancho for eight years, a major factor that contributed to her decision was the frustration with immigration.

“The immigration system is broken as a lot of people know, and they make it very difficult for anyone to stay legally. I am no longer willing to put anymore money into the system if they don’t want to acknowledge a person who wants to stay here legally,” says Bauer.

Bauer had the choice to stay in the United States illegally or to leave and explore the world. She decided to apply to an international job agency which had her resume sent to many schools worldwide. She sat down with her husband with the atlas of the world and debated what her next move would be.

”It was a fantastic experience to ponder where do I want to go in the world,” says Bauer. The final decision was Germany.

Both Bauer and her husband are South African but they both posses German ancestry.

“We came here to the states about ten years ago, and we landed with a cat in one hand, a bag of clothing in the other, and nothing else. So that is pretty much how it’s going to be again.”

She will take nothing but her cat, her clothing, and a few selected pieces of art that her students have made during the past few years.

Bauer believes that the best part about El Rancho are the kids.

“They have made my teaching experience at El Rancho the best teaching experience I’ve ever had.” She thinks that students at El Rancho are all very sweet and have a lot of drive and ambition, but she is “very sad, because [she believes] there is so much potential for the El Rancho students, and that’s the single thing that I am going to miss the most.”

While at Germany, Bauer will pioneer her new school’s Marine Biology course which does not yet exist. She will be doing this at the AP (advanced placement) level and is ready to face the challenges that will come with it. “There will be much more in-depth research, much more practical application, more stats, and more math.” Along with marine biology she will also be teaching physics.

Bauer is quite nervous about learning German; although she will be teaching in English, she will have to adapt to the German way of life. The cinemas, the radio, the Internet, and the paper will be in German. Her husband can speak German, so she is slowly beginning to integrate the language into her life. Her husband has bought her the Rosetta Stone, so she can go through the levels, but the grammar frustrates her. She is currently reading the Lord Of the Rings in German. Bauer even switched her computer to the German interface to try to wade her way through it.

Bauer will be teaching at a private international school in Hanover, Germany.

” It’s a beautiful little town. It’s a fusion between old world traditional Germany and the new more modern type of architecture which is all surrounded by the Black Forest,” she says. There is a lot of nature to be admired. “I will be cycling to work, trying not to hit a fox on the way” Bauer jokes.

Bauer is very excited by the fact that Europe is both environmentally and efficiently conscious. She is eager to travel all over Europe because the transportation system is very punctual.

“You can sit there and wonder, well where do I want to go this weekend? Do I want to go to Monaco? Should I go sit on the beach at France? Should I go to the Mediterranean? Everything is within a two-hour radius,” she says.

Her husband lived in Germany when he was younger and always wished he could look at the castles, buildings, and beautiful architecture with someone special. And now Bauer is making his dream come true.

“We definitely plan on spending a lot of quality time together,” she says.

Bauer came from a single parent home and was adopted after she was taken away from an abusive family. Her mother “saved her” from a dysfunctional home. Bauer’s mother worked two jobs to put Bauer through school. Bauer now thanks her for offering her an education, so she is now taking advantage of the chances that her mother gave her. It is what allows her to get a job, do what she wants, and go where she wants in the world.

“It is about taking a hold of the advantages and opportunities that are given to you, making the most of them, and not throwing away your education. Because that is the one thing that empowers you so much and that’s what no one can ever take away from you. If you have those dreams and goals, don’t give up on them. Even though sometimes it feels really, really, rough and hard and it looks like all the doors are closing, it’s at that time that you should look for light and try to find that one door that, for me, God has opened and shown which direction to go in. Just make sure you are setting yourself up for success,” she says.

Bauer would like to give a shout out to every student she’s ever had and every person she’s had in her room officially and unofficially

“Thank you for sharing your life and your experiences with me because every person that you touch touches you and, we can make these profound relationships with people. Thank you for the things you have let me learn.”

-Odalys Chavez