School Discipline and Room Renovations

It has been a busy couple of weeks since my parents headed home. I’ve been working hard to help find some solutions for a wave of disciplinary problems in my main school, including drinking at school, drugs, absenteeism, lack of interest or respect for teachers, and a general sense that students do whatever they like. It’s especially difficult to deal with because we have no regular staff meetings, the public transportation situation means that most teachers cannot stay after or before school, the principle has many responsibilities that keep him away from school, and the political situation lends power to the students and parents rather than the teachers.

Last week I wrote up a survey to try to gather information about the problems and proposals for ways to confront the problems and this week I’m working to compile the results and set the stage for finding new strategies and disciplinary measures. It has been a great experience in trying to organize people and information and coordinate a response and change a complex situation. I don’t have a whole lot of optimism about the chances that meaningful change will result from it, but I’m happy to be doing my best to facilitate the process.

My family’s presence drew my attention to some of the more obvious sub-standard conditions in which I live, mainly to my clothing-storage situation. I had built, soon after arriving, a rudimentary shelving space with cement bricks and two long boards, but I was tired of my clothes smelling and looking like dust, so I went into the port town on the island to buy some supplies. I eventually procured a five-foot metal pipe, some rope, two L-brackets, and some hangars in the hope that I could somehow suspend the pipe from the ceiling and away from a wall with the L-brackets. The result has been extremely gratifying. I have artfully succeeded in creating a hanging closet (turned out that the L-brackets were unnecessary) and sawed up the long shelves into short ones. My room is more spacious and my clothes are cleaner.

In a few short days I will reach my one-year mark in Nicaragua, though this anniversary isn’t as meaningful as my one-year in service anniversary which will be in November. Still, I’m planning on writing a post about my first year in Nicaragua soon.

My free-hanging closet

My shorter, taller bookshelf. After this was taken I made it another level higher, too.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Janet Boddy on September 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Dearest Andrew, It all looks really nice! Seems more spacious and comfortable. I can’t help still wishing for some paint, though I don’t know if white walls, and thus being able to better spot any critter-visitors, would add to your “comfort.” (I do think sweeping the walls of the spider egg balls might chase some of them away.) I’m impressed, as always, with your swift response to feedback on your housing! Good luck with the discipline stuff; hope you got and maybe found useful some of the info I documented to you. Love, Mom


  2. Posted by Amanda on September 1, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    You know how I feel about “change” in general…but I love this! Great changes in the room! 🙂


  3. Andrew,

    Great job on the remodel!

    Oh dear, the discipline problems must be very frustrating for you. But I know that some of your students will sit next to someone like me on a plane someday and impress the dickens out of their seatmate with their stellar command of English. When their stunned seatmate asks where they learned English, they’ll say, “I had a Peace Corps teacher names Mr. BoddySpargo!”


    PS – It’s always fun to “see” you JanBod!


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