I am on strike today!!!

 

Digging and digging all day long...

Digging and digging all day long…

I have been working on a building site ever since arriving in India, way back in October!  Rather than waiting until the new school premises were completed and provided a safe place for learning, the management thought it wise to start using the building long before it had a roof…  So our teaching has been to the tune of the fickleness of the Indian building trade: walking around obstacles and scaffolding; avoiding electrical leads and wires; power cuts when electricians need to work in safety;  dashing to avoid getting soaked in the rain as the roof was not finished, the screeching sound of cutting tiles…  I put up with it, like everyone else, but yesterday just was the last straw…

Health and safety a priority... clearly NOT an Indian concept.

Health and safety a priority… clearly NOT an Indian concept.

When I was expected to teach straining my voice over the racket of a noisy digger next to my classroom, I stormed out and went to find Academic Director. ‘How long was this noise to continue?’ I asked.  ‘Why could this work not be done at 5.00 o’clock in the morning, at the time when all women in India have to get up to pander to the whims and fads of their incapable menfolk whose day probably does not start until 7.00am?’ I demanded.  A sheepish face was all I got… What did I expect?  He is a man after all with a wife – Principal M’am – to organise him..  ‘I am sure it will stop in about an hour,’ was his feeble reply.  So I retreated to a different classroom where we did written work that did not need any speaking or listening as this was impossible with the clamour going on.  And indeed, after a little while, the ear-deafening pounding subsided and it seemed as if Academic Director might have had a word with the builders after all.

Peace lasted exactly until lunch time when the digger made another appearance…  We resorted to games of hangman in the afternoon, drew pictures on the board and amused ourselves with miming games. And when I had another tête-à-tête with Academic Director, he informed me he thought we would have the company of the digger for another day or two.  Well, that was that!  I thought I can do Indian too, so I told him I would not come into school the next day (today…. it is my birthday after all!!!); there was absolutely no point as it was impossible to teach…  At least I gave him a day’s warning, unlike Indian teachers who just don’t turn up and then after the event will ask for a day’s leave…  A different way of working altogether…

And on the subject of building works and progress, remember the picture of my classroom at the beginning of June – Can you spot the progress???

Classroom in at the beginning of June

Classroom at the beginning of June

Classroom now, mid August. Spot the difference...

Classroom now, mid August. Spot the difference…

After 10 weeks, I now have a whiteboard and whiteboard pens, some of the windows have actual handles so you can open and close them, I have borrowed a desk or two and a chair to stand on so that I can turn on the projector for the Interactive Whiteboard… and the children still sit on the floor.  But don’t worry, it is not as if the school (or the management) has run out of money: outside the gardener is busy planting trees and other ornamental plants;

More plants lined up whilst I have to account for every sheet of paper I use in the photocopier...

More plants lined up whilst I have to account for every sheet of paper I use in the photocopier…

an elaborate statue was commissioned and sculpted to be displayed at the entrance of the school building;

An sculpture which took weeks to complete... a priority??? Or would children benefit from sitting on actual desks instead??

An sculpture which took weeks to complete… a priority??? Or would children benefit from sitting on actual desks instead??

a whole row of expensive and impressive palm trees line the drive to the school; the toilet facilities are fully tiled…

Prime specimen of palm trees are sure to impress visitors, but do they add to the learning experience and value of the students???

Prime specimens of palm trees are sure to impress visitors, but do they add to value of the learning experiences of the students???

As you can see, no expense is spared, apart from spending money on providing quality teaching and teaching resources…  I am having a fight at the moment for the school to supply me with a ‘dongle’ so I can have access to the internet on the interactive whiteboard as it may take another few months (probably years…) before the whole school will have internet access through WiFi.

Clearly, I have got my wires crossed: I always taught that education was about what happens in the classroom and the knowledge and skills passed on, rather than the grandeur and prestige exuded by the building and the grounds of the school…  I think I am still struggling to come round to the Indian way…

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “I am on strike today!!!

    1. lievelee Post author

      I am definitely trying… and some days I do enjoy it too…. But not yesterday, although I had a fabulous day today relaxing and doing nothing much at all! So it was worth going on strike! I just wished the other teachers sometimes had the guts too to speak out and put up with things.

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      Reply

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