Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cultural Misunderstanding

Last week I had one of the biggest internal conflicts of my life in terms of understanding a different culture. We arrived at the high school we were teaching at on time, and immediately took not that all the girls were leaving the classrooms while the boys stayed inside. We were immediately confused because our lesson was supposed to start in a minute, and had no idea why all the girls were leaving. We walked into our classroom and then heard the notorious noise of a stick in the air. I look outside and every single girl in the entire school is kneeling on the ground waiting to be beat with a stick by the teachers. I immediately become sick and furious. I watch as the girls are hit one by one. I look at my watch and notice that we are 15 minutes into our allotted class time. The teacher we are working with quickly comes up and tells us to start our lesson. I say, “but the girls are not here, it wouldn’t be fair for them not to gain anything from our lesson. Do you really want us to start?” The teacher replies, “yes, they will be back in five minutes.” NO, they came back with three minutes left in the lesson. We taught a class of only boys. I was furious. It makes perfect sense to beat ALL the girls in a country where girls are already the minority in schools. Lets punish those that make it all the way to high school. Call me a feminist, but I also don’t think the use of physical punishment has any place in schools.

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