Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I wrote this in an email to my boss. Her English is quite good, but sometimes if I write something out of the ordinary, she just doesn't respond to me. I think sometimes its because I'm being hard to understand. I've adopted this style.

"I noticed that I am scheduled to teach 1-1, 1-2, 1-4, and 1-5, but I am not scheduled to teach 1-3. Maybe class 1-3 is first period but the teachers think that it is too early for me. I don't know the reason why I am not scheduled for 1-3, but I am worried that they think the schedule is too difficult. Maybe there is a different reason I don't know. If they want me to, I can go to school for first period, it is not a problem."

Tottorinishi JHS is where I'm headed tomorrow. I have a lot of difficulties in communication with that school, its generally too big and they've been known to forget that I was scheduled to come: scrambling, looking shocked at my sudden appearance in the teachers room. I'm scheduled there for 3 days in a row, teaching 1st and 2nd grade, but one class is conspicuously missing from my schedule. I think this is stupid. I'm there for 3 fucking days and there is no reason I should teach 4 out of 5 groups of students, only to come back in two months. I don't know why the schedule is the way it is. I'm trying to deal with the fact that decisions are often made in mysterious for mysterious reasons.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I've felt for a long time that people in the US get too uppity when it comes to certain aspects of communal thinking. Some things that happen regularly here might seem rather Orwellian to a majority of Americans... and probably most of Western Europe.

Many of the aspects of the beginning of the new school year have reminded me of what a strange place this is, and illuminated certain value differences between here and my home. I drove to school yesterday surprised dozens of uniformed men and women at every intersection on our small town main street. I can't say whether the purpose of their presence was more about safety or simply the idea that this was an important day. The town speaker system was also in use. I can never understand it well, its usually spoken in a way beyond my normal range of politeness, but it must have been asking the citizens to watch out for students on their way to school. The speaker system is usually used exactly twice a day monday through friday to announce the departure of students from schools (once for elementary and once of middle); it was a special day indeed. The feeling you get of first hearing this extremely polite woman's voice echoing off the hills surrounding Akan is quite odd, it was creepy exactly just very different.

I think the notion of dystopia is quite different here. I'm not quite sure what it is, but it is not a fear of being told what to do. Taking a quick tally, it seems to be a universal theme in dystopian literature. This needs a lot more looking into, but I think an ultimate fear here is isolation and disconnection. The voice echoing through the town, telling you what to do isn't so bad.