Friday, October 05, 2007

Teachers and teaching…

Yesterday was not supposed to be so interesting but it was. I had no particular appointments concerning the new school or places to rent, the new BEING HAD Times and a new post were already in place. I know this sounds awfully bureaucratic – and that this is one of the criticisms of the BHTimes specifically, but really, you do need to understand that there is a basic standard of work and responsibility to everything you do; I have a schedule for publishing the thing and I try and keep it. But in any case it looked like I had a chance to get out to the dacha and try and move along our buttoning up process. A day at the dacha is a very good thing for people under stress, and this is certainly me these days. This is not to say that manual labor is the sole answer to stress, but cleaning the strawberries on a chilly and foggy day does allow one's thoughts to flow undisturbed. It helps put things in perspective.

From almost the minute I got back though Tanya whisked me away to a parent/teacher's meeting at the kindergarten. I think I wrote about one of these last month. This time around there were cookies and candy set at the tables and coffee or tea was made available. The meeting was very short. All was ok at the school. Coats and shoos were very important to send along with the children in the cold months and it creates a problem when the school needs to find these things themselves. There are also some things which need to be bought such as a new cassette player so the children can listen to some music. About the only unusual item was a request for some money to buy presents both for the Day of the Teacher, a national holiday of sorts, and for the kids for New Years. The prices of certain items tend to go up nearer the holidays and it was thought that we should contribute now so as to save some money. This turned out to be the high point for me because I got away from the meeting only having to dish out 5000 rubles and not 25,000.

But speaking of teachers and schools, on the bus over to the station that morning Piotr Stepanovich, the director of one of the elementary schools here in Pinsk and the father of one of my best friends here Zhanna Petrovna, came up to me while we were riding. Actually, this is and of itself was a great thing because for the whole of our relationship it has always been me who has had to have made the effort to speak to him. Like a lot of people these days the man scares the hell out of me. But the reason he cam to me was to tell me that there had come open a vacancy over at the gymnasium, this is the school where Edward Nikolaivich works. Edward Nikolaivich as you recall was the previous head of the middle school commission, that job taken over by Luba Petrovna, and was the one who told me that receiving that teaching certificate was all that was needed to allow for some normal teaching work at the schools. This idea of course was rejected by Luba Petrovna, this action becoming the starter for several blogs about the Pinsk educational system.

Now, I do not know if this is a done deal and to be frank, I have my doubts that even if this is a real chance for me. This might in fact only be a ruse and giving me the position might be nothing more than a slate clearer which disallows my to bring a law suit against the school for breach of promise. If they let me teach and then arbitrarily call me incompetent, the onus is on me and not on them. On my side, if I am incompetent, which I am not, I would gladly walk away rather than cause harm to the kids I would be teaching. I am not paranoid; I just have lost quite a bit of trust for the people I have been wanting to work with.

On the other hand, it might just be the chance I have been waiting for. So, as it is exactly 8:40, I am going to go put on some slacks and a sweater and ride over to the gymnasium to talk to Edward Nikolaivich. Later I the day I have several other appointments to talk about renting rooms or potential positions. Call me a bureaucrat if you want, but I am still going to do what I need to do to get to where I need to go. Like it or not, I am the best man for the job of teaching the young people of Pinsk how to speak, read, write and understand the English language and I have every intention of doing so.

I guess I will add to this post at the end of the day, just to let you know what is going on…


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home