Sunday, April 10, 2011

Y aca estamos....

And all is beginning to wind down. Today officially marks one month left in Argentina. Ideally, I'd like to do one post a day until I leave, but I don't know how realistic that is. I want so badly to be present.... to experience all that I can and use the rest of this time to reflect, but school is getting in the way. I know that school is a part of this experience, but it doesn't feel like that right now. I feel like my Spanish class is making my Spanish worse.... making me second guess myself all the time, not to mention bitter about sitting in a classroom when I could be out in the city speaking Spanish with natives. The new history teacher is incredibly intelligent but lacks the teaching abilities to hold one's concentration for more than five minutes. The reading material for that and for politics are about as dry as they come. Plus, the politics class is one day a week for three hours straight, which no person should ever have to do for a subject that's not what one is majoring in. The other two classes are good/bearable, but I'm so drained by the others that I have no energy nor desire to put effort forth.

What's the point of all of this? Forcing us into knowledge? This can't possibly be with our "best intentions" at heart. One of the guys staying on the third floor from my program came up to our apartment, a ball of nerves, trying to study. I sat down with him for about 40 minutes and helped him with his Spanish, which he said was the best tutoring he's ever had. It seems like none of the teachers actually want to teach, just spit out material, pick up their pay check, and call it a day. Is it an Argentine teacher thing? I talked to the head of this program and she said that North Americans, because we pay so much at our universities, are accustomed to feeling "entitled": to outside-of-the-classroom help, to hand-holding, to catered education. Here, the public universities are free, and as such, it's not customary for the teachers to do anything outside of the basic job description. However, we ARE paying. We aren't some dumb gringos feeling that our parent's money has earned us assistance..... well, at the very least, that's not ALL we are. We're young adults who are still struggling with culture shock, with the challenges of wrapping our minds and tongues around a new language, and making sense of the histories that surround it. I never had to learn about the politics in the United States, and suddenly I have to learn about them here, about the history of the military dictatorship of the 70s and 80s and the thousands of people that went missing during that time. There is no sensitivity training, only the responsibility to concentrate, to read hundreds of pages about it, listen to teachers recount it, and regurgitate the information back out in the form of a detached, semi-informative essay.
Education system, you are even more of an ice queen that I could have ever imagined. And I support it. Fiscally, at the very least. Boycotting is counter-productive.
There is no space between noting someone's drink order and placing their glass on the table to state my position on the monopoly that is the university system, only half-genuine smiles, wiping down tables, and picking up my 2 peso tip stuck behind the bill.

Currently I'm on the Art Education track at the U of Minnesota. Whether this profession would allow me to take part in the bettering of the education system in some way or not is contingent on me participating, on getting my diploma.

So here I am, 3:23 in the morning, with a bottle of Malbec and a to-do list with a superiority complex. No matter which way I spin it, however,
the idea of watching Dead Poet's Society makes me want to slam my head into a wall, and doing the work is the only exit-plan. Still, the strength to accept the bullshit is hiding just beyond the horizon line....

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