Saturday, August 25, 2007

Apartheid East London, Selborne College Boss's Promotion, 1992

I sent Mr. Gordon memos asking his advice about my disciplinary list. A week later, Mr. Gordon called me to his office, where his cabinet criticized me:

Bands: "Why don't you answer boys' questions?"

Me: "I answer boys' questions after I finish lessons, to filter distracting questions. You know a schoolboy trick is to ask a teacher a question to get him storytelling to waste time. Example: A fifth former recently asked, 'Sir, what do you think of Eugene Terblanche?' 'Fascist Fool,' I said."

Bands tittered: "Why don't you develop relationships with boys?"

Me: "You've ignored my De Beers Industrial Relations work. You've ignored my plays, which show the essence of relationships. Three years ago I offered to mentor teachers' play direction, but you and Mr. Gordon ignored that mentoring relationship. You sports-mad 'Managers' expect me to coach sport, but you avoid helping me with plays. And none of you have attended any of my cricket and hockey matches."

Silent Bands.

Forword: "You're not working for De Beers anymore?"

Me: "So what? As you're accounting HOD without business experience, you're threatened I've worked in business. Two years ago you ignored my request to learn bookkeeping from Selborne College books. You're scared I've asked for fair and consistent disciplinary procedures - which De Beers has. My querying Selborne disciplinary procedures questions your inconsistent management. Why'd you scream at boys in the corridor yesterday?"

Silent Forword.

Blumrick: "I-I'm surprised y-you socialized at Allam's home party l-last night. Y-you blank-out in staff-meetings, saying n-nothing. W-Why don't y-you wear a hearing-aid."

Me: "My social life's none of your business. You've never invited me to your home in four years!"

Silent Blumrick.

I explained about my nerve-deafness. "You're riled, because I'm going deaf, I can't acknowledge nor listen to your staff-meeting stuttering."

Me to Mr. Gordon: "Your disciplinary policy is inconsistent. There's no codification of procedures. Where's your evidence from parents I'm a useless teacher?"

Mr Gordon: "That'th confidenthial informathion."

Me: "Your allegations are unsubstantiated. You've perpetuated stressful work conditions for me, and you're all projecting your inadequacies on me."

I walked out.

My memo to Bands: "I trusted you in the past. Your presence at today's meeting and ratting admittance breached trust."

We avoided one another.

Blumrick stuttered to staff: "M-Mister G-Gordon's getting divorced. Y-you can talk about it. M-Mister G-Gordon will be promoted as S-SATA rep to C-Cape Town head office." Rumours had circulated for months. I wondered why Mr. Gordon was expected to manage Selborne if he couldn't manage his marriage? I'd endured his meetings, as I was having rare hearing-bouts. Analogue hearing-aids were useless, as increasing the volume caused painful distortion. Mr. Gordon implied I was lying about my deafness, and expected his cabinet to support his blackmail, while they tried to pressurize me to leave Selborne.

I repeatedly asked Mr. Gordon's advice about his disciplinary procedures. He called me to his office, pathetically recited his vague disciplinary policy and smirked, "I don't mind you tongue-lathing boyth."

"You've been Selborne Boss for over a decade," I said, "but can't provide codified boundaries for boys, nor safe biology teaching and learning conditions for staff and boys. You must apologise for your defamatory letters, and be responsible for discriminating against me for four years!"

"You mutht underthtand the contextht of the thituathion."

"Rich East Londoners send their sons to Selborne, yet your 'context' hasn't raised funds for better biology teaching facilities. You never had the professional integrity to inform me of funds I raised for Selborne when I directed plays."

Mr. Gordon and cabinet were so-called sportsmen, who compromised their professional integrity playing the man instead of the ball for years.

Coda: I complained to the Board of Trustees, stating the many times I was expected to use my car (without acknowledgment from parents nor Selborne management) for transporting boys to / from sports and plays. I stated when I was expected to drive to PE, Grahamstown, Queenstown, Stutterheim, Komga and local ECA. Thereafter, the Board paid teachers for mileage use of their cars for out-of-town ECA.

Mr. Gordon faded to Cape Town, and later married the Clarendon retired headmistress. While apartheid was collapsing, affirmative-action whites were scrambling for the last white affirmative-action promotions, to live luxuriously after apartheid.

On 19.04.2002, at night in misty weather near Stutterheim, a young Selborne teacher crashed a Selborne minibus head-on into a Toyota station wagon, which was overtaking an articulated truck, killing himself and four schoolboys. (Daily Dispatch) Other boys were maimed and brain-damaged. Feckless management kept their jobs.

I'd loathed Queenstown sports, as tired teachers were expected to after-match booze at the Queens Arms school pub, then drive back at night to Worm City through foggy Stutterheim.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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