Blogger's Note: I will not be able to access the internet next week, so there won't be any posts until the weekend after Easter Sunday.
I was supposed to give my Form 2B class their end of term exam in the afternoon. I was waiting for the students to be dismissed for lunch, but instead they were dismissed from school. After inquiring about the abrupt alteration in the schedule, I found out that the school’s septic tank was broken and the children were playing in the dirty water. This being a health hazard, the school was to close by order of the Ministry until the tanks were fixed.
Thanks for letting me know so I could plan accordingly. Ummm…and did I hug any students today?
I walked into school not expecting the septic tanks to have been fixed, but hoping for the best. They weren’t fixed. I asked if school was to be dismissed, and the Headmaster hadn’t given any direction, so things remained stagnant and a bit chaotic. I took this opportunity and quickly grabbed my Form 2B students, even though I wasn’t timetabled to teach them, and administered the exam in the middle of the confusion. The Headmaster decides to call another half day since the tanks were still broken.
Exposing the students for only half a day to the contaminated water is deemed safe, but not a full day. Got it.
It’s the last week of school before Easter break. The tanks were still broken and it had rained heavily all night and morning and spread the dirty water through parts of the compound. The flies that usually swarm around the classrooms have now tripled. At 10am, the teachers were fed up with the situation and asked the Headmaster to call off school again. He doesn’t. At 11am they mobilize, and at 11:30 most of the teachers walk out. Seeing that the teachers had left, I approached the Headmaster to ask him if I should dismiss the students.
Me: Sir, all the teachers are gone. Would you like me to dismiss Form 2?
HM: No Miss, today is not a half day. You can’t dismiss the children.
Me: But Sir, they don’t have any teachers to teach them. What do you want them to do?
HM: I cannot give you a decision as yet. Tell them to come back after lunch and we’ll see what happens.
Me: But Sir, they’re just going to sit here with nothing to do.
HM: Miss. Please give me a minute to make a decision.
Another teacher then goes into the back and tells all the children to leave. The rest of us follow suit.
Decision makers may not be the ones making the decisions.
It’s announced in the morning that today will be the last day of school since Guyana is hosting the Cricket World Cup. Three days of education is lost and may or may not be compensated for in July. The Headmaster has decided not to come to school. The second in charge is not here either. I approach the third down the line to ask him if the tanks will be fixed and if it’s safe to keep the kids in school. He doesn’t know the answer and phones the Ministry to inquire. The Ministry informs him that the Headmaster was supposed to evacuate the students until the problem was fixed, but the message never got to the children. The students slowly filter out around 10am, and after they have all left, the teachers leave at 11:30.
Welcome to Soesdyke Community High. Please keep your shoes on as you enter the compound.