As the Fog Lifts

Erasmo Calzadilla

There's Time. Photo by Yosvani Deya

I’ve already written about what I found at the senior high school in the low-income and problem-plagued neighborhood of Mantilla, where I recently got a job as a teacher.  It has a chronic shortage of teachers, lacks controls and has a history of fraud that has facilitated the passing of students who don’t know how to read fluently or subtract.

The result is an abundance of problematic and undisciplined students who regularly skip classes, engage in fights with weapons, the existence of relations that are too close between the teachers and students…  In short, from my point of view, a total disaster.

Nonetheless, I feel the obligation and pleasure in clarifying that following that first and fateful impression, I’ve begun to especially appreciate the titanic task of one group, the teachers, who are practically giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in an attempt to revive the near dead.

The sacrifices of these instructors has nothing to do with the miserly salaries they’re paid or with the treatment they receive from the Ministry of Education, which they habitually describe as an “ingrate institution” (the kindest epithet they use for it).  Instead, their selfless labor comes from the will and desire for things to work well, even knowing in advance that the battle is lost.

They’ve lifted my spirit when I’ve been a hair away from hanging up my gloves, yet they themselves will be the ones scandalized and will kick me out once they learn about my political leanings and my “adventures.”

Perhaps these are mere prejudices, let’s hope so, but at the same time it turns my stomach to see the enthusiasm and conviction in which they organize those ridiculous acts of “revolutionary” reaffirmation for the students to take part in at the beginning and end of the day.

During such rituals, for an instant I’ll suffer the bitter sensation that nothing has changed since the ‘80s, that we are destined to eternally repeating doing the same, that we’ll never get out of this deep hole…

But with a quick glance at my surroundings, the despair is somewhat alleviated; it’s true that we have not climbed out of the hole, but the “revolutionary” rites are finally beginning to be seen as being out of place.

So that’s the balance of my second impression.  Not everything is rotten, but those who are incorruptible lay crystallized and ossified in an ideological fossil…  Let’s see what my third impression reveals to me.

One thought on “As the Fog Lifts

  • Whether it be revolutions or religions, there is a time early in the history of each when such affirmations have meaning; later, they become empty rituals. What is always relevant, however, is our ability to reason, to reflect, to forever be seeing reality in a new light, and to ask ourselves always: Why is it that we come together into a society and a state? Later: How do we remake them to reflect our revised conclusions.

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