Thursday, July 14, 2011

pleasantly surprised

good day today. feels like a pleasant summer afternoon back home. the last few days have felt like this, as we move into the dry season. these transitions between seasons here are great. such pleasant weather.

my APCD paid me a visit. a "how are you?" visit, as he put it. but we talked about quite a few things. in fact, i'm really very happy with the entire thing. go figure! between this visit today and my talk with the CD, our administration is actually being receptive/responsive.

i was pleasantly surprised by my APCD today. the things he said about the teacher training program i would've never expected from him. same man i had that conversation with in Yaounde a few weeks ago? it's like night and day.

i guess he'd heard it from enough people (and seen it himself in Nkambe, at least) that our teacher training program... well, sucks. to put it a little less than technically. i vented about students, teachers and school admin. he listened. talked, too, of course. and i even asked and got answers to long-time questions:
  1. Q: why not primary school PCV teachers? A: because we're over-qualified, capacity building is low, and their needs too great or numbers too big.
  2. Q: why not educational consulting PCVs working in an entire town at various schools? A: because we'd have to work with a local delegation office (Lord no!) and need PCVs with skills which aren't easy to find.
these aren't absolute/final answers... but they were good to hear, regardless. i still think we could diversify our approach, and take PCV placement case-by-case. placing some here, some there. according to their skills. that's probably tough to manage, though. they are thinking about placement in technical schools. SARs [i've forgotten what this acronym stands for?], too. but who'll have those skills coming in? anyway. at least i got decent answers. acceptable. and no doors shut.

i'm telling you! this was a different man. i wonder if the CD spoke with him? he even copied down the numbers i showed him on NW/SW TTC [teacher training college] admissions. he said he'd take them to MINEDUC [education ministry] in Yaounde and speak to the man in charge of TTCs/ENIEGs. ask him why they're so low and what they're going to do, if anything, to change that.

so he'll get it from the horse's mouth, instead of all this local speculation about whether the government will or will not do anything about our situation. no assimilation. low attendance. low motivation. if not apathy. too many teachers. i'd love to hear what this man in charge has to say about all that. i'll have to follow-up with my APCD.

hmmm... we also spoke about extension. transferring to Morocco, 1st. extending up North, 2nd. he'd hoped i'd entertain staying on as PCVL [peace corps volunteer leader] in Bamenda. ummm... no. i don't know??? all that - transferring, extending, etc. - seems distant now. a remote possibility. what changed? me, family, grad school? God knows.

get this. my APCD even told Auntie that if she didn't get more students next year, no PCV. i think she just won't get a PCV, regardless. we went out to visit GBSS [govt bilingual secondary school]. my APCD knows the principal there well. seems they were classmates. seems he had a PCV in Bafmen before. even asked my APCD to send another his way. good for him. i'm going to strongly recommend one. will fill out the site prospective form in december, insha'Allah. after i do some more research on the school.

i hope to be as blunt with Auntie as my APCD was today. should've seen how deferential she was to him! really, though... why do we humor her? protocol, yes. but i should just tell it like it is. i ain't gonna lose a job. she needs to hear why she (not she, our school) isn't getting a PCV. it's complicated. a shame, also. i don't want to see us pull out of training teachers completely. to lost that capacity building. maybe things will change? in other schools, if not ours.

so my APCD is leaving that option open. and the option for PCVs to teach at a TTC if they wish. he'll make a teacher training component available in PST [pre-service training]. albeit limited. i doubt secondary school teachers will look for more teaching hours at their local TTC, though. and vice-versa.

so... some questions answered. some questions remain. all in all, i'm quite satisfied.

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