This has been a frustrating week for me as I felt like I was watching an out-of-control runaway train, constantly braced for disaster. There are more children here than we can handle. There aren’t enough schools and so the schools that are here are jam-packed. Our class sizes at the Kinder are 32-37 students per one professor (and we turned another 50 some away). At the grade school next door first grade starts with 45 students per classroom and that continues up to 12th grade. And even with that, students only go to school for half a day (about 4 hours), there’s a morning, afternoon and evening shift. I heard at another Kinder in town they have 5 classrooms with 40 students each. I have read multiple stories of places like Egypt, Afghanistan where class sizes top 100 per classroom. Even with very strict discipline this makes for an incredibly difficult (and draining) teaching environment. You go from no child left behind, to practically every child left behind as it’s impossible to give any personalized attention to anyone. And if they have a learning disability, well then just forget it. They’ll get ridiculed and punched by the other students for being stupid but the teacher doesn’t even have time to police that.
And then there are the Guarderias/Preschools. After opening on Monday, the city government sent out a statement Tuesday that they weren’t paying the workers or paying for food until March. However all the other schools started on Tuesday so there are no older siblings around to watch younger ones for the month of February. So the Sisters said they would pay 3 workers and pay for food in February and I guess because they have no other option, 39 parents still brought their kids on Wednesday. This left one worker cooking, one worker with 12 babies 6 months- 24 months and one worker with 27 kids aged 2-7, and me bouncing around helping out wherever I could.
Here are the results of this type of situation (all of this just happened yesterday):
- We lost two kids from the Guarderia- they ran out the door into the market. One was found at his mom’s stall, the other was still missing at 5pm.
- At the Kinder a motorcycle fell over on a 6 year old. (he was okay, maybe broken finger)
- I had to literally grab a girl from the Hogar and yank her back from in front of a moving car. There are 12 kids from the Hogar at the Kinder and they keep forgetting to come pick them up.
I’m not looking to place the blame specifically on any one group for this. But I’m frustrated because if education is the root out of poverty, as I have always believed it is, we’re not making any progress here.