Course part1

Today was the fourth day of a five day course. And I mean, an eight-hours-a-day five day course. The course is called ‘negotiating’. And I am exhausted. I won’t even mention the fact that the library is closed this week and that I really needed to sleep late and have some fun…

In Israel we have a system, it is called something like ‘educational bonus’. It goes like this: we (the employer) will give you (the employee) more money every month with your salary if you take additional courses for further education. After you take those courses. After you take 400 hours worth of courses, to be precise. We (the employer) will even give you some of the money back that you spent for those courses, and some of the courses you can do on our time. BUT those courses have to be courses that we (or actually the ministry of education) think are good for you.

I hate to admit it: I am a good girl. I am boringly well educated and well mannered. I hardly dare to say it but I actually like to study. I like to sit in a classroom and listen to a teacher, if the teacher is any good and the subject is even moderately interesting. But courses that are supposed to be good for me are not the courses I would typically choose to do. I don’t even mean to say they are not good for me. I might benefit from a course on ‘assertiveness’, or ‘body language’, or ‘self realization’. Or even this course on ‘negotiating’, that I am taking. I might even be interested to do those. But in my mind they are trainings, not courses. And I would rather do them with 10 than with 27 people. Put 27 people in a classroom, with tables and theories and a whiteboard and you’ll get… chaos. Especially if you insist on making it a ‘marathon’, eight hours a day, five days a week.

Now it would not be so bad if all 27 badly needed or wanted the skills that are taught. But they don’t. They want the 400 hours. They want the addition to their salary. They are forced to sit in class, which most of them hate anyway. They are forced to take subjects they are not in the least interested in (because they could off get this week; because this is the course that is offered; because they are not interested anyway) . And they do all they can to make things ‘easier’ on themselves. Such as: frequently leaving the classroom to go to the toilet or get some water; read the newspaper; read a book; play a game on their smartphone; solve a puzzle in the paper; and, most important of all: making sure they don’t sit one minute too much in that classroom. The ministry of education made rules for this kind of course: one can miss 20 % for valid reasons, but at all times at least two thirds of the students need to be present. If not, the class can be dispersed and no credit is given for the course. To track the students’ presence, they have to sign in the morning, after the lunch break and at the end of the class. At the beginning of the course a paper circulates on which everybody can claim their 20% of absence – within the borders of the two thirds of the class.




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