Wednesday, August 27, 2003

I'm so busy doing nothing. I love it. I'm far too busy too blog. I hope my two and a half weeks off work last forever. Well, maybe not. I suppose I'll get bored eventually. Meantime, I'm having fun. So are the girls. Ima doesn't come home tired and grouchy and she has energy to do all fun things. And lets them do fun things without getting (as) annoyed about the mess.

As usual the teachers are threatening to strike and not start teaching on Sunday. They are, of course, exhausted following a harrowing two months at home with their kids (The rest of us have to spend a fortune on childcare during this time and/or use up valuable vacation days. We don’t get four months of vacations a year, and a paid sabbatical (every seven years, is it?) like the teachers, what can you do?). Those of you who have been reading Not a Fish for a while will know that the strike threat is regular and happens every year (at least). It's outrageous, of course, but the teachers don't seem to realize that it backfires, because it serves to further increase, if this is possible, the lack of respect the teachers skillfully manage to elicit in both parents and students. These days they are so despised by all, that the Education Ministry is trying desperate measures this year in an attempt to regain some of the respect that the teachers are obviously not capable of evoking by themselves. We’re told that students will be required to stand when teachers enter the classroom, for instance, something we used to do back in my day, but which was dropped apparently somewhere along the line (except in religious schools). The current situation makes this no more than a sad joke.

Both my girls are starting new schools this year. Eldest met her new class and class teacher this week. She seems quite happy. Today Youngest met hers. Youngest seems to have a wonderful teacher (I haven't met Eldest’s yet). The thing is that there are some great teachers out there, but they tend to get lost in a sea of mediocrity. It's mainly luck if your kids get to be taught by them. Increasing Youngest's chances of getting decent teachers is one of the reasons we are moving her to the special class she has been accepted into. The worst are the old teachers who should retire but whom they can't get rid of because they have tenure. So they give them some old subject to teach and hope they don't do too much damage. This creates crazy situations such as aging computer teachers pathetically trying to teach children who know far more than them.

And now they expect students to stand in honor of such teachers? And I can guess that these will be the teachers who will enforce this most strictly, naturally.

Starting new schools means that both girls are quite excited, and postponing the first day is rather unfair. It is especially cruel for the little ones just starting school this year for the first time, like Allison’s son.