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Can you really imagine?

GUESTXCOLUMNCan you imagine some of the things that go on in this country, and the lives that have been, and continue to be, turned upside down as a result?

The boss I had before I acted as his replacement for some 18 months is thought to be a very jovial joke-giving man. That is far from the truth. He was really quite vindictive and insecure. I thought the talk of demons by a minister only applied to the children, but many of those demons are in administration.

Let me tell you about the man who fooled most people. Can you imagine in a short period during his tenure I had to act, and since it was end of term coming up decisions had to be taken. He had indicated his evident friend was going back to a Caribbean territory to live; so I engaged another person to fill the spot.

That did not work out, and when he came back that was reversed and the individual resumed duties. I was lambasted. At the end of that period I asked staff to criticize my work over the few weeks, so I could learn from my mistakes –– something called “self-evaluation” which he had never done.

His lackies went back and told him how I had paraded in front of staff telling them to criticize me and they were “offended”. At the next staff meeting, he declared I was the worst deputy he had ever had, and made sure it was minuted. Can you imagine he asked me to read the same minutes?

And when I thought that it was only me, I discovered that during his stint at Erdiston, as the big boy, he also lambasted the current principal in front of the staff. Such is the nature of a man, who did not only love corporal punishment but seemed to have invented it, since whatever a child did –– from cursing to weapons, to drugs –– he would say: “Put some hard lashes in them and let them go along.”

The last straw was at his final speech day when he declared in front of everyone that the speaker would be the next principal of his school. Wow! Things were really brown. You know, insecurity comes when a subordinate seems to have more and better ideas than the person in charge, and more so gets things done, leading by example and walking around.

Well, here are some of the things I accomplished even after his running to the ministry to complain for me. I thank Greavesie for offering some consolation at that time, as acting deputy chief. Even he could tell you what happened to me when he was the pilot at a school in the north where I feel proud that I was allowed to benefit so many children, now friends of mine. Alleyne to the bone! But here are some of my facts from the east:

Achievements as deputy.

(a) Computerization of the timetable.

(b) Introduction of tabs on the senior girls’ skirts to improve deportment and tidiness.

(c) Attended to and stamped out the issue of children loitering in Six Roads on mornings and frequenting Emerald City, getting to school late.

Achievements as principal (acting).

(a) Facilitated three buses leaving the school on evenings and a dedicated bus coming up on mornings.

(b) Increased the attendance of parents at year meetings and PTA meetings.

(c) Put measures in place to unite and amalgamate the several factions of the old scholars.

(d) Facilitated preparations towards the full implementation of both the CVQ and CCSLC programmes as indicated by the ministry.

(e) Revived the Incentive Scheme Programme (rewards to children for performance and punctuality).

(f) Instituted policies to deal with several matters of discipline, including weapons and violence (towards teachers too!).

(g) Conducted formal evaluations of teachers and administrators (some of whom were never available to have it done).

(h) Reorganized the distribution of the incoming first years to promote mixed ability teaching to deter discrimination, low esteem and stigmatization (which was the practice for years). Classes were renamed.

(i) Reorganized the curriculum in the
upper school to facilitate more effective timetabling, use of resources and fulfilment of student needs.

(j) Provided certification for those students leaving school in cosmetology, while allowing those who may have left school to return just for that purpose (to do CVQs in a different form).

(k) Upgraded the general public perception of the school.

Thanks to the Almighty, I was able to accomplish those things even amidst the rumour-mongering and lies dished out about me. Who was I to come into St Philip and disturb a dictator’s “den of comfort?” Daniel was in that den too!

Can you imagine that in this country persons get a phone call telling them to apply for a particular post? Can you also imagine that before the first question is asked by the interview panel, the chosen candidate is well known?

Can you even imagine that persons have boasted about having secured a post even before it was advertised properly? Wow! What a system!

Can you magine that one week an article in the newspaper noted a minister was quite disturbed at seeing young boys walking around with their pants below their behinds and exposing that part of their anatomy. Then the next week there was another article implying it was time the society accepted same-sex marriages. A backward direction for
the imagination.

Can you imagine building a brand new registry where so many people, including the elderly, babies, pregnant women and others must frequent, and wait long without having any toilet facilities available to John Public on the floor?

I gone again. Will raise a few more matters on other topics, and then keep my mouth shut. Recluse? Maybe.

(Wayne Willock is a retired acting principal of a secondary school.)

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