It’s the Little Things SOL#7

Slice of life

On Friday my work made a couple of announcements about security: 1) Never leave your classroom door unlocked when a teacher is not present- AT ANY TIME; 2) All school events will be held during the day.  Both of these seem like very reasonable announcements, right? Two tiny changes. We want everyone to be safe!

It made me think a bit though.

What about how I take up my students to lunch and then bring food down to my classroom (so I can work wile eating my lunch)? How will I unlock my door with food in my hands and nowhere to put it except the floor?

The school play that students have been practicing for the past few months will now be held in the daylight. I don’t know about you, but I think stage lighting lends more drama to a play. Instead of seeing the stage lit up and a big production at night, we will be watching it at 4PM in full daylight.  Sure, we can still see the wonderful stage design but it wont be the same.

Sure these things are small inconveniences and I understand the reasoning. In fact, after my encounter with an armed robber, and my laptop being stolen directly from my classroom while I was away (different events), I completely understand.  However, understanding the necessity of the mandate doesn’t make the feeling any different.  It just reminds me of how unsafe I really am here.

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about teaching overseas is the sense of security I’ve always had on campus.  There is a gate with several guards present who check the IDs of strangers and note down car license numbers.  Usually there are some security cameras.  At my last school the guards were even armed.  I never locked my own classroom doors unless I came into the school on a weekend (which ever teacher does now and then). On one hand it can seem scary, but I felt secure knowing that the bad guys were kept outside the school gates.

Now I’m always going to be thinking about who might be stealing my stuff if I forget to lock the door when I run to the bathroom between classes.  Now not only do I worry about avoiding areas of the city where protests will be, but I also worry about running to school after dark if I forget something (can’t forget to get the grading done ASAP).  Now I will be less likely to go out after dark, even if I am planning on going with the group. I guess Venezuela isn’t as safe as I thought it was folks!

It is strange how these two tiny changes can make a person alter the way they feel. Good thing I’m pretty content to write on my blog and read a book most nights!  Safety first!

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12 responses to “It’s the Little Things SOL#7

  1. It’s so true – tiny changes like these can rattle us. I’m sorry about the annoyance of it, but sorrier for the feeling of being unsafe. I hate when you have to lock up … I want to trust everyone.

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  2. That is a positive way to look at it. (Re: your reply above) The truth is once they make these kind of changes…things will never go back nor be the same. I guess we are always moving forward and you can understand the reasons behind these changes.

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    • I work on a beautiful campus (palm trees, greenery, hot, tropical, sunny weather year round), so I should really use my 30 lunch break to eat outside instead of working. In Oregon I always locked the classroom door and ate in the staff lounge so it isn’t that different in that respect. I also don’t like going outside after about 7:30PM anyway so I really can understand where the security team is coming from.

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  3. I like your outlook of looking at it as a blessing in disguise but I’m also a bit concerned about your safety too. Are you planning on staying for another year? All international teachers are aware of the risks we take when moving to new countries, especially potentially unstable ones, but safety is so important. I hope you are at peace reading and taking your lunch breaks instead of working through them.

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    • Despite the little inconveniences and difficulty finding things, I am quite content to live here. If things stay more or less the way they are now, I can imagine staying here for two or three more years. This is my third year in Venezuela, so if I stay for six years total, I think I will be itching to see more of the world. I would love to live in SE Asia or near some of my friends in the Middle East for my next placement…someplace where I don’t have to worry so much about personal safety. But while I’m young, single, and childless, I feel like I can live an adventurous life here!

      Now, not working through lunch might be a change that is a lot harder for me to make! haha. I will find a way!

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  4. I don’t read the paper or watch the news any more. Sometimes I think the world is less scary than we think it is, but people keep reminding us to be scared. Take the necessary precautions like a seat belt, then enjoy those kids and your life there.

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    • I stopped watching the news a while ago (it helps that I don’t own a TV), but I still read a lot of international news. I definitely agree with you that there is too much of a focus on all of the dangers in the world. I think that we should all just try to enjoy the life we are living!

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  5. In my experience it’s better to take your own security seriously than not. I know when I was younger and child free I probably wasn’t cautious enough. Now with two kids, moving to South Africa, I’ll probably be too far the other way. But I’d rather be a bit paranoid than the worst happens. .

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    • Since moving to Valencia I feel like I’ve taken my personal security very seriously, but this is the first time that I’ve thought about my safety while at work. I thought only schools in the US had security issues. haha, not really, but I have always felt so safe while working overseas!

      I think teachers are similar to parents in the sense that I am constantly paranoid because I’ve trained myself to assess possible dangers that might harm students at any time. This isn’t something that I turn off. I’m always on the lookout for possible dangers! This is probably why I live a pretty secluded life.

      I always joke with my friends here that even though I have a car, I drive to school, to three or four markets (because you can never find everything you need in one place, maybe a couple of restaurants, and to the hotel pool. Other than that, it is parked at home and I’m reading a book, planning, or working on my blog!

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    • Yes, I love my school for having a security team who thinks about these things for us. I prefer to not think about it and to try to live as normal life as possible, but it is great knowing that the school cares about us.

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