Friday, June 23, 2006

We Don't Need No Edjucashun

On the master plan of this adventure, the next box to check was "Get Jobs". Everyone in the group certainly believed that Kimberly, the nurse, would be the first and possibly, the only one to accomplish this.

But, au contraire.

I took a walk across the street to Nelson College for Boys to look into relief work, which is what they call subbing.

Within minutes, I was seated in the headmaster's office being interviewed. I fully expected to be tossed out on my fat ass. But he needed subs and needed them now. I was taken to meet a teacher that was going to be gone for 3 days and was hired on the spot. Applications were filled out and schedules were given to me. I was now on the relief team and practically the captain.

Total time at Nelson College...12 minutes.

I was to show up for work the next morning, and so it went.

As the song says, "If you become a teacher, by your students you'll be taught" and I arrived ready to learn.

First off, the room was a disaster. Even the headmaster referred to it as a "shithole" By the end of my stay this week, I had the students clean it up, but what that room needs is more like a bulldozer.

The kids are uniformed high school age and all boys. The older ones swear like sailors, roughhouse right in class, interrupt, don't like reading or doing homework. One class was younger and all advanced kids; they were my favorites. I think the headmaster was letting me get my feet wet to test me out.

As our brilliant President wisely said, "Bring it on!"

By the end of the week, I was somewhat well known, being the only American in the school. (I was accused often of having an accent). Now the kids greet me on the street and are very friendly and kind.

The teacher's lounge is large and comfortable with about 20 couches and other comfy chairs. Each day, we get a stact of morning papers. The big news this week was about a high school girl who streaked the Saturday rugby game. Apparently, she was inspired by a woman who streaked the All Blacks Pro game last week. You can bet when the ball is put in play this Saturday, there will be a new eager American fan in attendance, binoculars in hand.

Back to the teacher's lounge... They have a full kitchen and every morning, there is fresh coffee with all the trimmings. there is a girl, Teresa, who serves it and cleans up after us.

In the middle of the morning, they have a tea break; the kids go to the canteen to buy snacks and junk food. The teachers return to the lounge where there is tea (with milk?) or coffee. On Fridays, there is a large assortment of cakes, crackers, cheeses. No wine. Teachers do not skip school to go play golf of kick back because they feel like it. It don't work that way here.

As our readers have surmised, I will not be looking for permanent work anytime soon.

Relief teachers get paid by the hour. This week, I worked a total of 12 hours. I should get about $35-40/hr after tax, which comes out to more than they pay in California. Go figure.

When I arrived home today, wafting through the house was a sweet, familiar smell. Ah, that delightful treat I have missed for lo, these long 4 weeks...

No, not that.

Kimberly had made chocolate chip cookies.

Those of you out there that have had the experience of tasting one of these things know how happy I was. Kimberly intends to slowly expose them to select neighbors and friends. The tellers at the bank are on the short list to get some. Before too long, all of Nelson will be abuzz over this new found delicacy.

Maybe I can trade for bagels.


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