On Schools and Suicidal Tendencies!

The early bird might indeed catch that worm, but I have always been more partial to caviar myself. This is why I have not been what you call an early riser. Waking up around the noon would be the ideal thing to do for me. But, and ever since that curse of dissidence befell me, I was forced to make a certain compromise and waking around 9-10 am became a necessity. 

The last few days, therefore, should have been quite insufferable seeing that I had to wake up around 5:30 am everyday to take Mouhanad to his new high school and help them with the initial registration procedures. But the fatherly pleasure of seeing Mouhanad’s wonderment at how beautiful and welcoming the school appeared was too gratifying to allow for any negative feelings really. Damn. I have been rubbed of the pleasure of moaning.

But what a school it is! Located in the heart of Silver Spring, or more to its north really, the Montgomery Blair High School is simply the grandest most colorful high school I have ever seen as well. What a leap from Mouhannad’s old school in Damascus, which is my old school as well.

Indeed, the Fraternity High School, like all Syrian public and private schools, except for the handful of diplomatic institutes and the recently opened private schools catering to the super rich, looked more like a security headquarters, or an army barracks than a place of fun and learning. And I should know. Even the appearance, mannerism and dialect of most administrators and teachers closely resemble those of my erstwhile interrogators.

But at Blair High, it’s courtesy galore. Moreover, the student population is so diverse it feels more like a junior UN. Though the equivalent Kofi Anan, I am told, is a former football player. Indeed, Montgomery County itself is a cosmopolitan liberal enclave that lies at the outskirts of Washington DC. It’s so liberal, in fact, I have joined the PTSA (the Parents Teachers Students Association) rather than the good old PTA.

The equivalent of such institution in Syria would have been called the Baath Steering Committee for the Advancement of National Consciousness among Teachers, Parents and Students, I guess. But, despite the absence of such formal institutions, parents were occasionally invited to be lectured at the Baathist Director of their children’s schools. A more pleasurable demonstration of the stupidity of Baath members there could never be, except when you watch the President in action of course.

He would win the Emmy, the Oscar, the Golden Globe and whatever other award you can think of for the best portrayal of a Moron Baath Leader in Action. Ever. Not even Saddam could rival him in this category.

Just consider his recent performance on CNN. And the nicely timed “suicide” of our Minister of Interior. Now, who else would have thought of that?

Jolly Good Show cubby. There is a Lifetime Achievement Award waiting for you at The Hague. Don’t be late now.

2 thoughts on “On Schools and Suicidal Tendencies!

  1. In Syrian schools, you are assumed to be an idiot, treated like a 3-year old child even as you complete your final year in bakaloria. This is a mentality that stems in part from Arab culture (the respect for elders tidbit), however, it is taken to the extreme in Syria.It always bugged me that young people were never given the benefit of the doubt. When I had a private Arabic teacher at my grandfather’s school a few summers ago, the result was not much difference. There I was, 17 years old, being taught to read with my good friends Bassem and Rubab, and of course, their favorite anasheed. 3aasha ab al-Qa’id! And, you cannot ignore the glorification of the socalled Ba’athist Thawra.Ammar, the reason Syrian schools are reminiscent of military compounds to you in comparison to American schools is that, in Syrian schools, you are conditioned.In American schools, given gifted and open-minded teachers, you are encouraged to learn… I would not even go so far to say that you are “taught.” What I call a successful development is when the student takes the initiative to learn.And, hah! The Steering Committee for the Advancement of National Consciousness among Teachers, Parents and Students! That’s a good one.I saw the Amanpour interview. Why is it that Arab politicians consistently dodge questions by pointing out alleged logical fallacies? It is so tempting to fall for them, but then you need to withdraw from the scenario and contrast the man’s words with his actions.

  2. Sad…really sad. I am right here in Washington DC, I am a special ed teacher. The rewards of teaching special ed students are not financial, it’s more of intrinsic rewards. I love my job!Let’s learn from each other. Please feel free to exchange thoughts with us regarding the ideas I present in my entries. I hope you won’t get intimidated by the commenters speaking in my native language (I am a Filipino by the way). You’re always welcome to visit my blog.

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