Wednesday, March 07, 2007

All I Want For Christmas Is A New...


Memo from my AP:
Make sure you lock all doors when you leave the room.


Ms. POd: Mr. Supervisor, I told you, my door doesn't close. It doesn't sit right in the frame anymore.

Mr.Supervisor: Just push it shut from the outside when you leave.

Ms. POd: But, I told you, it doesn't fit right. It is too hard to get it in right. Besides, every time someone comes in or out, I have the same problem. There is a permanent draft in the room.

Mr. Supervisor: Have a student do it if you can't. The kid can close door from the outside and then walk around to the other trailer and re-enter through that one.

Ms. POd: It is not safe. Anyone can walk in from the outside. Besides, sometimes I am there after the kids leave.

Mr. Supervisor: What do you want from me? I have given you alternatives. You choose not to do any of them. Why do you always complain so much?

Ms. POd: I want a door that closes properly. But I guess that is too much to ask for in this place.

6 comments:

Marco Polo said...

I'm just reading Savage Inequality. It helps me understand better what is going on in the environment you blog about. The problem is not the educational "system": it seems it is a natural result of a combination of the kind of rampant capitalism apparently favoured by the majority of voters in your country, and the de-sensitization effect this has on people. The supervisor in your dialogue here is a moron: not because (s)he is not intelligent so much as because (s)he fails to grasp the underlying point of your "complaint" - that fixing something that is wrong or broken is a natural human response born out of a sense of dignity and self-respect. If the door was in her/her house, how long before (s)he did something about it? It seems all the people you are pissed off about (or at least write about) have lost this sense of basic dignity and self-respect (and of course therefore respect for others and for other's dignity). When you have a whole bureaucracy full of people like this, the system has in effect failed, tho it may continue to survive for a very long time. You could have a good system, but if it's full of assholes, your door will remain unfixed till hell freezes over, and if you try and fix it yourself, they'll probably dock your pay or fire you (and come up with lots of sound legal excuses for doing so, because the regulations are also written by assholes).

In Savage Inequalities, Kozol gets background info on East St Louis from a local reporter, Safir Ahmed, an Indian immigrant to the US. After a description of East St Louis that sounds like from Dante's Inferno, Ahmed says, "Nobody in East St Louis has ever had the clout to raise a protest. Why Americans permit this is so hard for somebody like me, who grew up in the real Third World, to understand...In Calcutta, this would be explicable, perhaps." That's how I feel when I read your blog.

Pissed Off said...

It bothers me that others that teach in the same environment won't complain. They just accept that this is the way it is supposed to be.

Maybe I am getting too old for this. Thank you for reading and understanding.

I really think it is all about economics. A friend of mine teches in an elementary school. The desks the kids write on are so scratched up that they need to have a blotter under every paper they write on yet the principal just refurnished the entire general office. I could go on and on forever with stories like these.

Marco Polo said...

Is being an asshole "economics"? Your friend's school's principal is either an asshole or he's stuck in a system which encourages asshole-ish behaviour and discourages simple human dignity and common sense (or both). Is that due to "economics"?

"Economics" I take to mean decisions about spending funds, at one level, and at a higher level, decisions about what to spend tax-payers' money on. It could be just "the forces of the market", or it could be the gods messing with the humans (again), or maybe it's the alignment of Pluto and Uranus, or maybe it's people forgetting they are people and trying to be assholes?
(Did I post the link to Stanford Prof, Bob Sutton, author of the No Asshole Rule, and why not take the asshole test?)

Pissed Off said...

Furniture in the general office looks nice to the outside world. Appearances are all principal's care about.

Pissed Off said...

I came out a 6 on the test. But, I am not one. Every administrator I work with is though.

Marco Polo said...

"Savage Inequalities" is teaching a lot about how the US system works, but it's depressing. It seems people in your country have a philosophy that says reward the successful because they will do better, while those that do not do well are not worth caring about: it's their own fault. On the back cover, there's a quote from a Bronx school principal: "I don't thnk the powers that be in NYC understand, or want to understand, that if they do not give these children a sufficient education... we will be their victims later on. We'll pay the price someday - in violence, in economic costs. I despair of making the appeal in any terms but these. You cannot issue an appeal to conscience in NY today. The fair play argument won't be accepted." I have a feeling he might be right, and also have a feeling that this (economic) argument, tho it sounds a cynical one, might actually be an effective one if made powerfully and with lots of facts to back it up.
You're really up against it. Have you read the book? I wonder what your impressions are.