Of TV classes and other absurdities

Teo, that’s my son’s name, doesn’t belong to “Generation Y,” but nonetheless is an unlimited source of anecdotes for this Blog. His school stories generate smiles, concerns and another post (which he’s never interested in reading, because is “old people’s stuff”).  Being up to date with what they say in his classroom, the music that he dances to, and the words that he invents, connects me with those teenagers who some day will blame us for “this” which we are leaving to them.

A few weeks ago, my son came home with Geography homework. “What are the portions into which Central America is divided?” said the question, which got us to search in our memories and the dictionaries.   I attempted to explain to Teo that in my time in high school, they used some other categories like “zones” or “areas” or “ecosystems,” but not this definition that reminded me more of a piece of a pie than a stretch of land.  So I inquired of him about the origin of such a novel category and I got as an answer: “They said it in the TV class.”

For those not up to date with the “new educational methods” of the average Cuban education, I must explain that the TV set in each classroom plays the role of the teacher 60% of the school time. The students are bored, they can’t say, “Teacher, please repeat, I didn’t understand,” and copy without pause whatever is dictated on the screen.  With this new pedagogic technique they attempt to make up for the lack of teachers caused by low salaries and little social or institutional recognition.

In doubt about the “portions,” I went to the school and asked a teacher (the flesh and blood one, not the virtual one in the screen) what does  that new geographic definition mean.  I heard something familiar, “Um, I don’t know, they said that in the TV classes.”  So I decided to sit every morning to listen and take notes from the educational programs transmitted by the TV.  If I don’t do it, how will I be able to help and review Teo’s questions.

Already put in the role of interpreting for my son the boring chit-chat of the “TV teacher” I even got a VHS tape.   Tomorrow I will start recording the TV classes!


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