Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Meeting Gone Awry

The beginning of the year meeting was scheduled for 10AM today. With classes scheduled for 11, I knew that there was no way we would make it on time... meetings last forever.

For. Ev. Errrrr.

Come 10:40, the attendance had reached critical mass, so just before starting, I quickly ran to my room to let my students know that I would be late to class (after all, if we can't finish a meeting in one hour, we surely can't finish one in 20 minutes).

The meeting starts. I drop the book I am reading (The Audacity of Hope).

The speeches are drawn out and follow protocol to a TEE.

(1.) Opening Prayer.

(2.) Statement from the Chairperson, the Madam Head Teacher

(3.) Statement from the Deputy Head Teacher

(4.) Statement from the Director of Studies.

(5.) Review of Minutes from the last staff meeting sometime in November of last year ("Minutes" = Detailed report, i.e. EVERY SINGLE WORD AND HAPPENING OF THE MEETING, "Review" = Reading the "Minutes" word-for-bloody-word to a bored audience comprising 25 and one borderline suicidal Devon).

(6.) Remarks and "Way Forward"

(7.) Closing prayer

It is now approaching 12, and we are only half way through the meeting. This does not mean we are at #5. No. We are at #6, and everyone is adding their opinions to the mix... which is strange because there hasn't been a single damn thing said to rain these opinions onto. Nothing. People are literally spouting a whole lot of nothing about... nothing. Only those talking have any further interest. Everyone else is "LOST."

I too am lost. I pick up my book again and begin to read.

A few minutes go by, and in my peripheral hearing the words "Mr. Murphy" buzz.

Mr. Obama is talking about is road to the Senate. He's quite a writer.

It tries again. "Mr. Murphy, are you with us?"

The words break through, and "It" becomes "She": the new Madam Head Teacher of Kyenjojo S.S.

A bit shocked, I look up, realize what she is doing, and I take the truthful way out... and dive right in.

"No, I am not."

Giggles swell and are stifled from the crowd.

"Well, it is very rude of you to be reading while a meeting is in session."

Welp. Now you've gone and done it, lady. You've been here three days and you're all ready power-tripping on me over my desire to avoid listening to speeches that will literally de-brain me if they penetrate through the thick membrane that is my selective hearing, in front of a live audience, no less..

And, you're done.

"Well, I think it is very rude towards our students to be missing class because we could not show up to a meeting on time."

"Would you like to be somewhere else?" she poses.

"Yes. I would like to be teaching my class."

"You should ask to be excused then."

"Thats fine," I say standing up, book in hand. "May I be excused?"

"You are asking to be excused from a meeting. That is very rude."

"Yes, but I should be teaching my class. May I be excused?"

"You want to leave the meeting?"

"Yes. I want to go and teach my class. May I be excused?"


I walk out of the room in front of surprised, whispering faculty, faces plastered with varying degrees of awe, and head to my room to salvage what is left of my lesson.

The meeting continued straight into and through lunch...

...and early 1100 students were deprived of one-third of their studies today.

...but all the teachers got a coke or two, "so there's that!"

Thanks for reading.

I love you all (but especially you, Michelle!)


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