Thursday, August 28, 2008

Things that make you go GRRR...

I'm so f****** angry today I could kill someone. Just yesterday I was going on about James Patterson's great psycopaths, I think he could get some inspiration from me today.

Here's the situation. Both my husband and I are teachers. He works in a state school (high school) and I work in a private language school. The major difference in the way our employers regard teachers? My employers actually acknowledge that teachers are human beings and have a life outside the school, which might include a family. Doesn't mean that working hours are ideal, but the fact that they make an effort to put together more flexible timetables for teachers is something in their favour. My husband's employers regard teachers as robots because this is the Great Technological Era and human beings do not exist anymore. They are an extinct species. Ever heard of humanistic approaches in teaching? Well, forget about it! That would imply having real human beings as teachers and the government is not interested in that. This country is run by engineers, so give them numbers, stats, league tables, rankings and you have a happy bunch. Mention the fact that humans inhabit this country and they cringe.

As a private language school, most of our classes run after 5pm because our students come here after work or after school. So that means that the bulk of our teaching hours are from 5 to 10pm. Not the ideal schedule if you're a mom, but there's no way round this situation. That's why I put my son in a school near my workplace so he can spend his lunch hour with me and I pick him up after school and he's with me for a while before his dad goes to pick him up. After that they're on their own. Dad makes him dinner (yuck! he's the world's worst cook!) and helps with homework. I then come rushing home for the bedtime routine. It sucks, but it's the best we can do considering the situation.

Up until now things have worked smoothly because my husband usually finishes work between 4 and 6pm. Sometimes there's an overlap in our schedules, so the little guy just hangs around with the secretaries in my school, doing his homework until dad shows up. No major drama.

Yesterday my husband got a letter from his school with more or less an idea of the classes he might be teaching this year. My heart skipped a beat when I took at look at the paper and saw "night classes" mentioned on it. There is absolutely no way we can both teach night classes with a 7-year-old son at home and nobody to look after him! Today my husband went to school to get everything sorted and make it clear that night work is out of the question. Well, they told him that they're working on the timetables, but it was not their problem and he would have to sort out our situation at home. Basically, what they were saying was "We could care less about your family & don't hassle us anymore or else..." . So now we have to wait until next week to find out if we have a major crisis on our hands.

Now, take a look at this story. Because of the complicated situation in education here in Portugal, no stable teaching positions, a cousin of mine had no choice but to accept a teaching position out on the islands. That's a 3 year contract. Great if you're young & single. Not the case here. She's 40, married and has a 12 year-old son. But they decided it was for the best her accepting the job and moving out with her son and the husband could go over every month for a week to visit (working night shifts he's entitled to a a week off after 3 weeks of work) and they could home over the school holidays.

At the same time the President of our country is wondering why there is such a low birth rate here in Portugal. Hello! How can you have children with policies like these that just suck! And, by the way, does the word infertility mean anything to you? Well, it does to 500,000 people in this country who are having problems conceiving and very little help from the NHS.

Now I gave my husband an ear full today. Not his fault, of course, but I had to blow off some steam and he was at hand. "Uh-huh, uh-huh" was his response to my rantings about this government and the state they've put our country in. And what does my husband say to this? "By the way, we've run out of milk!"



Martha said...

That Sucks! I hope things work out, What A Bunch of Bureaucratic MORONS!

lub said...

Oh my- that sucks royally! I hope it gets sorted out!

alicia said...

oh wow, so sucky! and such a typical male response to crisis! I am sorry you are dealing with this, I hope you figure things out soon!