Friday, June 29, 2007

1975 Apartheid Durban, Virginia Teaching Roundup

< 1975. Virginia Primary School Staff. Men, l to r, middle row, Neville Spencer, Mark Esslemont. Front row, l to r, David Wicker, Donald Young, Keith Temperley

Natal was hard-up for white teachers, so Poms were encouraged to immigrate. A shrieker lady Pom amused us. I taught her daughter. Geordie became Senior-Assistant teacher, teaching William the Conqueror, 1066 and all that, ignoring the Voortrekker Great Trek. SADF never conscripted Geordie, who read a BA at Natal University, and married a Durban girl.

Mevrou Graunch retired to everyone's relief. Dirty Mr. Scouse became VP, and his BO repulsed us. He returned to England to everyone's relief. He wasn't the first or last Pom to work in SA (protected by unwilling conscripts like me), who scuttled back to England during the 70s and 80s when SA got nasty. Mr Young retired to everyone's sorrow. Mr. Ranter succeeded him to everyone's discontent.

Mr. Ranter stopped my Sunday tennis sessions, which I'd enjoyed for years. By the time we tennis players were in our 40s, I'd married, gone deaf and emigrated. Charlie emigrated to UK and married a nurse. Fraser became a bachelor banker, had a motor accident, and lived in a lunatic asylum. The other four married: two stayed in Durban, two including PP, went to the Cape, and divorced as they were moffies. All except Fraser fathered children.

Non-conscript Mr. Ranter skittered around school, forgetting Geordie and I were his only sports-coaching male staff. NED paid Mr. Ranter to spend taxpayers' money, but he neglected school cleaning and maintenance, although Zulu "boys" and Schools' Building Services did the work. Mr. Ranter neglected pupil discipline and allocated resources unfairly. Instead of improving teachers' classroom resources, Mr. Ranter hung curtains on corridor windows.

Over four years' teaching, I learnt that Journal and Daily Forecast (in my case Monthly Retrospect) record-keeping were time-wasters for me, and window-dressing for shloopy, white, male inspectors. After 2 years I knew the syllabi so well, I taught without prep. When my varsity exam-swotting clashed with my Virginia science exam-marking, I didn't mark my science exams. Instead I cooked science marks from my mark book, as I always had a positive correlation between my averaged test marks and my exam marks. Mr. Young and Mr. Ranter never moderated my science exams, nor queried my marks. I expect those unmarked science exams are still archived in brown paper bundles.

As Virginia was a desirable white school, I had to mentor many college and varsity students when they did block-teaching. Management never acknowledged my mentoring expertise, nor paid me for my time-consuming mentoring. In other NED schools, I'd experience similar mentoring ripoffs: Principals took credit for mentoring student teachers, but mentor teachers got no credit.

Pompies and I were the only varsity Speech and Drama, part-time students who did professional acting, but actor pay was crap. Most part-time students were fat, white women, incapable of professional acting, but they all got their degrees.

My Speech and Drama major wasn't accepted by NED for salary increase, until I'd finished my degree. When I finished my BA, I decided to read my Speech and Drama Honours degree full-time, which would give me a masters degree teacher's salary. I would have seven years' tertiary education, including sciences and humanities majors - rare high school teaching combinations.

Hugh offered me an Edgewood drama lecturer post, which I declined.

Fraser and I dumped Paul's death mask in a telcon on Umgeni River bank, by Ellis Brown Viaduct. Months later, we told mom what we'd done with Paul's mask.

1 comment:

Mark JS Esslemont said...

June 2007 email from an Auckland NZ, SA expat:

"...I have enjoyed this blog... Read every one of Mark's posts."