5 weeks ago
Monday, February 01, 2010
Morning has Broken
My vice pule greets me as soon as I get to campus. “Can you print the timetables?” I tell her I’ll do it, but I’d found a couple of clashes when I was going over the schedule last night. She doesn’t seem too concerned. “We’re still hiring teachers, so we’re going to have to redo a bunch of it anyway. So just print out what you have.” Yes, ma’am.
I head to the secretary’s office since she’s the only one on campus with a working printer. When I find her, she is using a straightedge to make the T-chart for today’s page in the staff sign-in book. Any sense of urgency I project is completely lost on her. Her office is still crowded with parents waiting to register their children. There’s been a long line of them sitting outside the school for the last week and a half. No one seems in a big rush, and I feel better about oversleeping. Eventually my secretary allows me to use her computer, and only then does she tell me the printer is out of paper. She refers me to the vice pule.
By then, this morning’s assembly has already begun. Most of the staff, my vice pule included, sits on stage sitting behind the speaker, who leads a lengthy prayer. The first part of the assembly is always a prayer, and students who show up late don’t enter the hall until the prayer portion has ended. I wait outside with them.
Eventually we are let in for the announcements portion of the assembly. After it’s all over, I walk with my vice pule to the supply room to get paper. “We should get one of the boys to carry this,” she says, pulling out a box of paper. Am I not a boy? I asked myself. If one of the Samoan male teachers were on this errand, he would have carried it himself. But before I can protest, my vice pule calls to the student passing by. It’s a year 11 girl.
The petite 15-year-old carries the box back to the secretary’s office. I follow her. We walk past the long line of parents. I feel like an idiot.
I print out the schedules and deliver them back to my vice pule. “Do you want me to take these to the classes now?” I ask.
She shakes her head. “We’re not going to have class today. The homeroom teachers can pick them up at Interval.”
I spend the rest of the day in the computer lab taking the mice and keyboards out of mothballs. Yeah. February is off to a great start.
I hope you’re well.