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!