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Staring down the barrel....

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by sidinz, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. I take your point that how he flies/accommodates himself is none of my business but it does stick in my craw a bit when we're constantly told that there's no money for this, no money for that, when it's fairly basic supplies we're asking for.
    You've actually used the word 'cheat' here. And I doubt that my 8yr olds would understand
    Yes of course I realise that some things are not culturally innappropriate but it does seem a bit like shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted when half the girls have Cinderella-themed backpacks/pencil cases (the shops are full of Disneyfied fairy tale stuff) and the boys make jokes about pigs in class. And like I said, I can't even acknowledge that Christmas and Halloween exist when the shops are full of the paraphernalia. We are supposed to be teaching a programme that promotes internationalism and tolerance. How can we do this if we're not allowed to talk about the fact that other countries have different values/cultural norms? There's a big difference between promote and talk about, something that the policy-writers seem to have missed.

    I am also supposed to be teaching these kids English, which is littered with sayings that relate to the old pre-Christan gods. Pandora's box, Achilles' heel, narcissistic, oedipal (ok, that one's not suitable for 8yr olds but this school also has a secondary section to which the edict also applies), Olympic just to name a few.
     
  2. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Of course it sticks in your craw, and I'm surprised to hear sensible colleagues opining that it's all well 'n good because he's the boss.
    We're not talking about some hog-wallowing corporation with a lying cheating porker at the top who flies first class to London with his €3,000 laptop in his Cinderella-themed backpack, to celebrate Halloween with Cynthia Payne. We are discussing a school community.
    It is the duty of the 'boss' to lead by example and eschew flashy grandeur, pomposity, portentousness, bling, bullsh1t and ***.
    If austerity is the order of the day, it is the Leader who should first sit down to the bread and water. To engorge his belly and his ego at the expense of the children is a disgusting abuse of professional ethics and personal decorum.
    Nothing makes the classroom infantry more cynical than the sight of the Headperson gadding off to the ShangriLa Hotel at the sharp end of a plane having just told the underlings that there's nothing in the piggy-bank. Nothing is more pathetic than the sight of a person who supposedly started out in life with a teaching vocation, slavering over his quarter of an hour of jet-settery.
    Si monumentum requiris, come join me and the other absurd braggers and squanderers at the ECIS administrators' conference in the 'Easter' holidays (to be held this year in Constantinople).
    I like the story about sharing a waiting room with shackled prisoners. Now that's the kind of experience which makes 'teaching overseas' worth the candle.
     
  3. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    Do you know for sure that he travels 1st class and puts himself up at top hotels at the school's expense?
    Perhaps he does what I do, and pays for the upgrade out of his own pocket? Maybe he travels so frequently that he gets free upgrades or uses his airmiles?
    Perhaps the owners insist on how he travels as a means of displaying a certain image of the school?
    (To be honest though, I do love wandering up the steps to the Business Class section of the jumbo jet and waving at the various Cairo headmasters sitting in <strike>cattle class </strike>economy)
     
  4. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Why?
    Why would anyone pay their own money to travel first class? Merely to sneer at the wretched huddled masses of Cairo headmasters? Lofty contempt for the less gifted, talented and monied can be enjoyed absolutely gratis as many of us on this forum understand.
    I flew first class twice, as beneficiary of airline incompetence. In 1969 PanAm (RIP) failed to discover any trace of my 'unaccompanied minor' booking on a Kingston-NY-LHR jaunt. My mother, appalled by the idea that a long summer of vile misbehaviour and selfishness might be further prolonged, bullied them into finding a place up front, where I was seated next to an obese Dutchman who behaved for the next fourteen hours as if the airline had forced him to sit by a waggonload of horse manure.
    Then last year a similar ***-up by Air Ruritania produced an upgrade. To my horror there were two families from school in economy class, who must have thought that I was shoving my snout into the trough at the school's expense. Never again have I been able to look their children in the eye.
    On neither occasion did anything about the experience seem to be worth extra cash.
     
  5. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    Sometimes, there is a BIG clue. Think "big" "fat" and then think "economy seat"
     
  6. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Ah of course. I git it now...
    Is this a lucrative time of year for you, playing Santa Slaus in shopping centres? Or is he banned down your way?
     
  7. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    <font face="Times New Roman">Just as no outsider can really see into somebody else's marriage, it's also impossible to judge someone else's 'packidge' (There's a related double meaning in that, as Benedick almost observes in Much Ado) . The salary I was on in Africa was extremely modest after the swingeing tax deductions but the Board enhanced it by including business class travel not only for me but for Mrs M and the sproglets. Said offspring were therefore most dischuffed when I swapped the BC vouchers for cattle class which of course gave us vastly more airmiles to play with but had absolutely no cachet de snob.</font>
    'If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain or bitter,
    for always there will be greater* and lesser persons than yourself.' <font face="Times New Roman">*i.e. with a bigger 'packidge'.</font>

     
  8. If you are quite ugly and you want to become less ugly - is that being vain?
    I know I am a bitter man......


     
  9. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I enjoy bitter but my friend Count Dracula prefers vein.
     
  10. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    Vein Rouge ou Vein Blanc?
     
  11. Apart from the fact that there are school owners who do treat their schools like hog-wallowing corporations, this is more sensible stuff. I think I'm going to have to rename myself 'RejunenatedOldgit as my cynicism is being undermined.
     
  12. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    Du vin rouge, bien s&ucirc;r.
     
  13. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Typical. This thread has once again been hijacked by two incorrigible young scallies - MW & FP - who insist on taking threads away from their original topic.
    You'll never catch me straying from the subject. I believe in keeping on the straight and narrow.
    I have noticed a few jobs for Principals in Africa in the jobs pages this week, a couple of them in my favourite place - Nigeria - and another in a Egypt. What does it tell you about one of the schools when they want the Principal to start almost immediately? Another is well known to this forum for their despicable treatment of the widow of a member of staff that died at the school. Anyone up for Malaria, a **** place to live or dodgy owners?
    Now, what was this thread about again? [​IMG]
     
  14. Which a one?
     
  15. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    search for alex or principal & egypt
     
  16. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Principal in Alexandria... now there's a thought.
    A startup school by the look of it? What sort of students would attend such a school, what would the owners/founders be like? Massive packidge? Tiny packidge? First class flights ? Or economy like the poor starveling Cairo heads?
    Would they be looking for a young energetic up-to-the-minute go-getting polymath like MM, or a lazy punchdrunk old ****** like, well, modesty forbids me to say?
    And how is life in that fabled city?Still just as portrayed in the Durrell quartet, or is all that as vanished as Shakespeare's London?
    Would seriously like to know. Plenty of Egypt hands here, so come on lads, put down those greasy beer glasses, turn off sky sports, hitch up your muddy jockstraps and get your pudgy fingers dancing on the keyboard...
     
  17. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    I was in Alex a few years ago and found it interesting and a fairly easy place to live. The city is busy and can be dusty and like every Middle Eastern city it has traffic issues. There are indeed many poor people and yes donkey carts on the roads. I was rarely asked for money on the street and did occasionally give someone 2 pounds (25 cents). There are also fascinating historical sites in the city (catacombs, Roman ruins/theatre, and Egyptian antiquities), inexpensive clubs/gyms and a large western style mall. There are some decent restaurants and a few excellent ones. Eating excellent Chinese food on the rooftop of the Sofitel on a sunny day, looking out over the city and the Mediterranean is one of my favorite memories of my time overseas (not just in Egypt).
    Housing was an issue but I lived in a simple apartment with a great view of the Mediterranean and it was just fine. The neighborhood was not pretty, but very safe with local markets, barber etc. The people were friendly and welcoming and spoke some English. If you put yourself out there and learned a few words of the language it was even better.
    10 Egyptian pounds ($1.50) would take you anywhere in the city by taxi and the drivers knew that was fair. One or two may try to argue, but no big deal. Yes, your doorman asked for an extra 30 pounds a month ($5.00) as did the nannies at school that would bring you coffee every morning and make your copies for you. Wages are very low in Egypt and people survive by a little baksheesh. They genuinely appreciated it, I could afford it and it was a very agreeable system as far as I am concerned.
    In summary, Alex is a little rough around the edges, but there are great experiences and welcoming people there if you are open to them (and Cairo an easy and enjoyable 2 hour train ride away). Travel around Egypt is fairly cheap and antiquities, beaches, diving, the desert and cheesy wild animal parks (pet a zebra and feed a hippo, at least once in your life) await you.
     
  18. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Really? Why did you enter teaching then? It is about as subversive a profession as one can get.
     
  19. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    moi aussi, friend.
    Thank you for a generously detailed and informative response.
     
  20. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Sounds like you're interested in the job. This is a GEMS school - don't expect much by way of salary.
    I'm not as generous as wldtrvr; Alex is an awful stinking garbage heap - literally! Each and every corner there's mounds of rotting garbage, breading flies and vermin.
    The antiquities are nothing to write home about, keep to Cairo and Luxor if that's what you want - although the fake aquarium is worth the EGP1 you have to pay to get inside (the place is the size of a bungalow and all the fish are plastic.
    EGP10 from one side to the next? Maybe if you're Egyptian, but the ensuing fight you'll have with the taxi driver if you try that isn't worth it.
    Shopping is rubbish. Can't find a decent restaurant - even the well known ones like the Cecil are way past their best.
    The only worthy school in regards to money is the one on the consular grounds, but even their salary wouldn't drag me back nowadays.
    Each to their own, but Alex is somewhere I can't advise anyone to go to - stick with Cairo if you want to go to Egypt.
     

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