ANNI

Meet Anni. In her charming apartment in Berlin-Mitte, she shares the story of how she found herself doing a job she never imagined she’d do, in a place she didn’t expect to call home.

Anni, why did you move to Berlin?

I wanted to study Early Childhood Education. I had a choice between studying in Berlin or in Münster. My dad ended up encouraging me to move to Berlin.

What did you think when you arrived?

I did not like Berlin at all when I first moved here. It was quite a culture shock. My plan was to finish my studies as fast as possible and then move on.  

Nine years in Berlin is impressive. What made you stay?

My job. I was in the middle of my bachelor studies and ended up being offered a job in a Kita. I had always wanted to work in a school. Kindergarten hadn’t been on my radar, but during the interview I got inspired. The vision I heard about next generation, beyond the kindergarten itself, got my attention. Somewhere in the middle of that conversation, I decided I wanted to give it a try. It wasn’t just about a job or about creating a wonderful environment for young kids, but about empowering our future leaders and world changers.

So new job, new challenges, right?

Taking the job was the easy part (laughs). When they asked me to co-lead the Kita a year later, I was convinced they were crazy. I was only 24. Who would give a 24-year-old that kind of responsibility? I felt too young and inexperienced, but I guess, I grew into it. I had to decide to stop making it about myself and my insecurities and play my part instead. Three years later I was asked to become head of the Kita. They wanted to trust me with even more responsibility?! I didn’t expect that at all. In fact, I had actually been planning to go to Australia and to continue with my studies.

Anni, why did you move to Berlin?

I wanted to study Early Childhood Education. I had a choice between studying in Berlin or in Münster. My dad ended up encouraging me to move to Berlin.

What did you think when you arrived?

I did not like Berlin at all when I first moved here. It was quite a culture shock. My plan was to finish my studies as fast as possible and then move on.  

Nine years in Berlin is impressive. What made you stay?

My job. I was in the middle of my bachelor studies and ended up being offered a job in a Kita. I had always wanted to work in a school. Kindergarten hadn’t been on my radar, but during the interview I got inspired. The vision I heard about next generation, beyond the kindergarten itself, got my attention. Somewhere in the middle of that conversation, I decided I wanted to give it a try. It wasn’t just about a job or about creating a wonderful environment for young kids, but about empowering our future leaders and world changers.

So new job, new challenges, right?

Taking the job was the easy part (laughs). When they asked me to co-lead the Kita a year later, I was convinced they were crazy. I was only 24. Who would give a 24-year-old that kind of responsibility? I felt too young and inexperienced, but I guess, I grew into it. I had to decide to stop making it about myself and my insecurities and play my part instead. Three years later I was asked to become head of the Kita. They wanted to trust me with even more responsibility?! I didn’t expect that at all. In fact, I had actually been planning to go to Australia and to continue with my studies.

Australia vs. Berlin. What made you stay this time?

This time it was different. Instead of leaving, I knew I had to take the role, because it was bigger than me. It had the potential to impact so many lives. I knew stepping into it would be hard, but I had confidence that I could actually do it because of all I had learned about leadership through my church and the encouragement I got from my community. So, challenge accepted!

What impact do you feel you can have as the leader of a Kita Berlin?

The Kita situation in Berlin can be very challenging for families. Legally, every child should have access to a Kita, but the reality is that thousands of families are on waiting lists. There would be enough resources, but unfortunately there are not enough teachers. One of the roots could be that teaching is not very attractive to young people. I see teaching as a privilege. You get to lead the next generation into their future and be part of unlocking their potential. At the same time, you’re releasing parents to do their jobs well. One thing I would love to do is, tell the stories of the teachers I work with and use those stories to change the way young people see teaching.

How is that going?

It is a work in progress. An unfinished story! (laughs) But I want to collect these stories, build a website to share them on and believe they will change perceptions.

Speaking of Unfinished Story, what does this mean to you? 

Life is never perfect. As exciting as it can be, it also has its ups and downs, and we might once in a while stumble and fall. „Unfinished Story“ means you can always get up and try again.

What does Easter mean to you?

It is personal. It represents the beginning of something new. It changed my story and because of Easter, I know that I am part of a bigger story. It enables me to not just make life about myself. No matter how big the challenges are or how tough my days can be, I know that nothing is impossible.

Thanks, Anni, for your time.