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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Faltas and (in)sucesso

I went to the reunião dos pais (parents' meeting) of my son on Friday. There were five of us parents sitting at desks in front of the blackboard and Director de Turma. For fifteen minutes he described the instalações, refeitório, biblioteca and school cleaning arrangements and then on to the new regulations now governing teachers.

The third item on the agenda generated most discussion as it was about assiduidade and faltas, and the system for faltas justificadas ou injustificadas (justified or not justified reasons for missing class). Understanding this is important because a crucial factor for passing the year (for my son and his classmates) is carefully managing the classes you attend - or not - in full appreciation for the intricate rules for faltas. "You don't understand" he says to pacify me when I get mad that he missed a class "I haven't nearly reached my full quota of faltas yet."

I got excited when the Director started talking about the new system for extra sessions in different disciplines. My son's true vocation is to be a philosopher but his philosophy teacher doesn't like his questioning attitude. I had naively thought the extra lessons were for students who wanted to push the bounds of their knowledge even further, but no, they are another bandaid for combatting o tal insucesso.


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