Sunday, May 29, 2011

out of touch

at one point in our brunch convo last Sunday Robert asked me how school was going. right. good question. i gave him my honest, biased, unabashed and scathing opinion. good answer. we discussed the issue. he asked some questions. i answered. we spoke about our program [PCVs at teacher training colleges] briefly. said i'd speak to my APCD about the situation again. this time with the most recent issue of meager student succession at the GTTC. Robert asked for feedback on the meeting.

i told my APCD that students are disenchanted and no longer interested in TTCs, b/c they're not being hired when they graduate. he, as an APCD of Education (a senior staff member of an int'l development org) says, "sure they're hiring teachers. just look at all the ones here in Yaounde..." no need to even finish the sentence. in fact, i was caught so off guard by the comment that i couldn't react. he didn't even realize what he said/was saying.

are we here to encourage teachers to move to Yaounde to find jobs? are government trained teachers to rely on only private schools for employment? how do any of these alleviate the development issues we face? rural, uneducated, unemployed masses migrating to already overcrowded urban areas. my APCD doesn't even have the #s from this years GTTC entrance. he was quoting COSed volunteers' quarterly reports. file those! they're out-dated. so are you. out dated and out of touch. c'est dommage.

my problem is feedback to Robert. can i be honest, biased, unabashed and scathing?...

1 comment:

  1. i cringed at more than one point as i typed this journal entry out and posted it. it's harsh (though perhaps not entirely unwarranted) and has a tinge of self-righteousness to it. maybe more than a tinge.

    the harsh parts are obviously about my APCD. especially the part about him being out dated and out of touch. but i really was taken aback by his response to my grievance.

    my comments, in the next paragraph, are what strike me as being self-righteous now. a lot of almost naive development talk. "rural, uneducated, unemployed masses..." and "the development issues we face."

    what masses was i talking about? and who's we?

    i was upset and frustrated, no doubt. about the way my school was falling apart in front of me. and about the tepid response from colleagues, administrators and PC higher-ups.

    i suppose that for many, it was just one case of a miss-managed school. from their perspective – a lifetime of govt teaching, a nation full of teacher training colleges, a int'l org working on so many fronts, etc. – it didn't mean the same thing it meant to me.

    teaching at this GTTC was my primary project. my raison d'etre for being a PCV in cameroon. without something to do at school, i was left with no structure. i already had very little of it, with meager teaching hours and few students. or even worse, being trapped in a broken structure.

    the prospects were either suffocating, where the significance of my year plus in wum/cameroon and my work as a volunteer/teacher would fall apart with the school. or liberating, where i'd be free to do any work i really wanted to do in wum.

    all this insight is in hindsight, of course. while i had glimpses of the latter prospect – liberation to work, and to teach. i don't think i really took advantage of that.

    things ultimately got worse at school. and a couple of accidents took me away from wum. we'll see how it unfolds in the next several months at post...