Everything Was Supposedly Ready

Erasmo Calzadilla

TV announcers on the noon-time news seem more like life-size carnival puppets, perhaps because of the two-dimensional characters that they present on camera with their affected makeup and especially the poses of satisfaction or sorrow that they feign according to the news story.

They put on their happy faces at the end of summer when they have to announce — municipality by municipality — that “everything’s set for the start of the new school year.”

I know how much of this news is sheer hype because I’ve seen the disparity with my own eyes. It’s been over a month since the beginning of courses at Mantilla High School and there are still students who — because of the teacher shortage — haven’t received their first class in biology, physics and other subjects. The exception or the rule? Last year it was the same thing, and it continued until the end of the school year.

When I found out about this, it almost made me want to return to the classroom, but then I remembered the “tremendous” respect the students had for their teachers.

I thought back to the bureaucratic machinery sucking all my creative energies. I recalled how unwittingly I was becoming a part of the repressive apparatus and incorporating violence in my own repertoire.

And on top of all that I remembered my outbreak of anger with some kid, the dogmatic programs, the widespread cheating on exams, the period spent in some rural area, and my poverty wages of between 15 and 25 CUCs a month (about $20 to $30 USD).

In short, reflecting on all those bad times I spent there, I quickly changed my mind.